Hanser Lina Göransson was a successful opera singer who, after fewer than three years, chose to abandon her opera career for the sake of her family and the freedom of touring as a concert singer.
Hanser Lina Andersdotter was born in Orsa in 1908. Her father was Hanser Anders Olsson, a farmer who owned his own farm, and her mother was Hanser Kerstin, née Persdotter. Hanser Lina Göransson was clearly not the only one in her family to enjoy singing since both her sisters, Kerstin and Margit, fourteen and seven years older than she respectively, both already sang in the Orsa church choir. One day she asked to be allowed to accompany them to a rehearsal and then asked if she could also join. The choir leader thought that fourteen was rather too young and referred her to his wife Berta Maria Hambræus, who was a voice teacher. Hanser Lina Göransson studied for four years in Orsa, in 1922–1925. After that she studied for a year in 1928 with Bernt Bennerdt in Uppsala, and finally for five years in 1936–1941 with Clary Morales in Stockholm. The church choir in Orsa had in the meantime joined the Siljansbygden choral association founded by Hugo Alfvén, who had been its permanent conductor since 1904. Alfvén made a trip to Dalarna to collect folk tunes and herding songs. During his visit he listened to Hanser Lina Göransson’s mother and some other herding women. They had been assembled by the folk musician Gössa Anders to perform herding calls for him. Hanser Lina Göransson, who had just arrived home from a herding cottage in the hills, was also asked if she would like to sing a herding song of her own. ”That was a pretty melody!” the composer is supposed to have thought and some years later he included it in his Dala Rhapsody opus 48, arranged for strings.
One early sign of Alfvén’s estimation of Hanser Lina Göransson was given in 1926 when she was made the Siljan choir’s soloist. Evidence of her self-discipline and professionalism is her contribution to the choral anthology Swedish Tongues, on Caprice Records. It is a radio recording from the Siljan choir’s concert in Mora Church in January 1936. Hanser Lina Göransson sang ”Säterjäntans söndag” by Ole Bull without a tremor in her voice, even though her mother-in-law had just died of an acute heart attack only the day before. When Hanser Lina Göransson sang the same piece sixteen years later at a recorded radio concert, her voice was just as youthful, with a freshness she seems to have preserved most of her life.
Her opera debut in April 1939 was as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, in Stockholm called På Sicilien. She had prepared it with her voice teacher Clary Morales, from whose experience as a lieder singer she was to benefit later in life. Hanser Lina Göransson sang three times with the young Jussi Björling as Turiddo. He was however completely overshadowed by her debut: ”one of the best debuts the writer has experienced at the Opera” according to Curt Berg in the major daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter; and: ”this debut may without a doubt be registered as one of the best and most interesting for a long time”, according to music critic Kajsa Rootzén in the other major daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
When Hanser Lina Göransson sang Santuzza after the summer, Einar Beyron had taken over Jussi Björling’s role. During 1940 and 1941, she felt a growing uneasiness about the working climate, despite the opera manager’s interest and repeated suggestions about a permanent engagement. As a consequence, she made little success with Tatiana in Tchaikowsky’s Eugen Onegin in January 1940, a role that she sang four times all in all. Her Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser in September 1941 was a triumph that passed almost unnoticed. During the autumn she decided never again to sing at the Stockholm Opera. She found twelve times were more than enough.
Hanser Lina Göransson had married Erik Göransson in 1928. He was the organist and music teacher in Orsa. He allowed his pupils to sing a lot during lessons and his enthusiasm contributed to the founding of Orsa municipal music school in 1948. By that time, he, his wife and their two boys had moved to Stockholm and started a private music school at Årsta schools with the Orsa school as their model. Hanser Lina Göransson was very active during the 1940s, giving recitals of Swedish lieder with her husband as her pianist, and singing solos in concerts with the orchestral associations in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsinki. She toured the Swedish-American territories in the USA no fewer than three times, without her husband, in 1950–1951, 1953 and 1956.
After Erik Göransson’s retirement, the couple moved back to Orsa in 1974. Her husband died there in 1987 after both had been awarded the Orsa municipal culture prize. Hanser Lina Göransson died in 1992 and is buried in Orsa Old Cemetery.