He was the son of the Lutheran bishop of Växjö and later archbishop of Uppsala, Yngve Brilioth. Helge studied church music and singing at the Stockholm conservatory, the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Originally a church musician and répétiteur, he made his debut at the Royal Opera Stockholm in 1959 – as a baritone. From 1962 to 1964, he was a member of the Bielefeld theater.
In 1965 and back to Stockholm, he switched to heldentenor, made a second debut as Don José, and had soon particular success as Otello. From 1969 to 1975, he sang at the Bayreuth Festival (Siegmund, Tristan), 1970 at the Salzburg Easter Festival (Siegfried under Karajan), 1970 to 1974 at the Metropolitan Opera (Parsifal, Ägisth, Tristan, Florestan, Siegmund and both Siegfrieds). In 1970, he gave also his sole performance at the Vienna Staatsoper (Lohengrin), and made his debut at Covent Garden (Siegmund), where he would regularly return. Until the mid-1970s, he was considered one of the finest heldentenors in the world, and made a lot of guest appearances internationally (also at the Bolshoj and the Paris Opéra, for instance).
Then he reduced his activity, reportedly due to ill health, and appeared mostly only in Sweden, until the late 1980s.
Reference 1, reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens
I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Parsifal).
I wish to thank Richard Boijen for the picture.