Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Miliza Korjus, Anyone?

One of my favorite pursuits is to project the names of musicians of renown who are essentially forgotten by way of the passing of time. The towering performers who withstand the erosion caused by time are the likes of a Toscanini, a Rachmaninoff, a Heifetz, etc.
However, there are many truly important musicians whose names are essentially forgotten by all but the few whom we might call cohorts - I have written of several since I began this blog; performers such as Jesus Maria Sanroma, Rise Stevens, Larry Adler, etc. This coterie of wonderful performers was celebrated during their day, and at times, for a period beyond their tenure.
I should like, respectfully, to add another name. She was Miliza Korjus, a coloratura who was born in the first decade of the 20th century, and became world recognized as a reigning singer in the coloratura range, and had been compared to Jenny Lind and Lily Pons, to mention but two.
Her great physical beauty, coupled with a singular agility and timbre akin to the coloratura soprano, made her rather quickly a star. She sang with Furtwangler in Berlin, just to give you an example of her stature, and made some movies in Hollywood, which show up rather rarely on television. I do remember seeing her on my computer some time ago - I would recommend, for those of you not familiar with Korjus and her work, to get a recording or two.
A brief note: cancer has stricken Seiji Ozawa, the brilliant conductor, whose tenure as musical director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was the longest in that vaunted orchestra's history.
I'm sure that it is hoped that the disease has been detected early enough, so that maestro Ozawa can make a complete recovery.

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