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Lebendige Vergangenheit - Miliza Korjus (Vol.3)

Artist Miliza Korjus
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Miliza Korjus (Vol.3)
Release Date 2006-12-15
Genre Classical > Choro
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Miliza Korjus was one of the most astounding coloratura sopranos in the verifiable history of singing. Her recordings are generally considered as being in the “top league” and, on the basis of these recordings, she is often equated with those paragons of vocal artistry: Tetrazzini, Barrientos, Hampel, Galli-Curci et al. It should not be forgotten, however, that Miliza Korjus had virtually no stage career and that her fame rests fairly and squarely on concert and recording activities. In the early 1930s Miliza Korjus was deemed a sensation - a second Jenny Lind. She enjoyed equal acclaim during her concert tours in the United States but her career lacked the very continuity that might justify comparison with world-class sopranos. Korjus’ star waxed and waned with unusual rapidity and, because virtually all biographical details have, even now, been kept a secret, numerous legends have arisen around her name - no doubt an intentional move of her manager to enhance her fame. The few biographical details known are as follows: She was most probably born on 18. August 1909 in Warsaw - however both the date and year of birth are quite uncertain. Her father, Arthur Korjus, was a Swedish military attache who claimed Viking descent. Her mother was a Polish-Russian aristocrat. Miliza Korjus’ extraordinary vocal ability became evident at an early age and her parents did everything to further her talent. Her father’s military career necessitated much travelling and thus Miliza Korjus got to know numerous European cities already as a child. Wherever her parents were posted they made sure she received the best possible vocal tuition. All in all she studied at sixteen music colleges and, moreover, developed an outstanding linguistic ability. She could converse fluently in Polish, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, English, German and Italian. At the age of ten she sang at the church concert in Kiew. Her first public appearance as a concert singer took place in 1929 in the Estonian capital Tallinn. In 1933 she started on a grand concert tour which took her through Russia, Finnland, Scandinavia, Germany and Austria. During a stop-over in Magdeburg Max von Schillings heard her and immediately engaged her to appear at the Berlin State Opera. In 1934 she made her successful stage debut as Gilda. Miliza Korjus subsequently learnt a repertoire of about twenty roles, including Lakme, Rosina, Violetta, Queen of the Night and even Santuzza. She also appeared in opera performances in Kiev, Lucern, Stuttgart and Budapest. Primarily, however, she concentrated on concert activities. Her records spread her fame and eventually the United States evinced an interest in this fabulous soprano able to cope so brilliantly with roles and arias requiring a stratospheric range. Eventually she went to Hollywood having been signed up by Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer to play the female lead in the Johann Strauss biography “The Great Waltz”. She soon becamed celebrity in the United States and - between 1938 and 1940 - she gave a large number of concerts. She never appeared in opera during her time in the United States. From 1940 to 1944 she lived in Mexico where she gave many broadcast recitals. In 1944 she made her enormously succesful Carnegie Hall debut. In 1945 she toured Canada and subsequently South America. Thereafter she withdrew from public life but resumed her recording career in 1964. Miliza Korjus was a virtuoso coloratura singer. Apart from the crystaline beauty of tone, the stupendous flexibility and staccato technique was renouned. A Korjus speciality were the altissimo tones (in “Ombra leggiera” from Meyerbeer’s “Dinorah” she sings an A flat) although it must be pointed out that these tones are occasionally stiff and piping. Miliza Korjus voice was actually fairly large and powerful and she was deemed a well-nigh perfect dramatic coloratura singer, being especially admired in her times as the ideal interpreter of the Queen of the Night.