He was originally a railway worker (from 1902 to 1920), but while still doing that work, he studied voice with Gavriil Morskoj in St. Petersburg from 1913 to 1918. He made his debut at the Estonian Opera in Tallinn in 1920 as a baritone; in 1923, he switched to tenor roles, for which he restudied in Italy with Armanda Degli Abbati in 1924/25. He spent his entire career at the Tallinn opera, until 1957.
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording (Za mir i svobodu!).