Miliza Korjus

Lebendige Vergangenheit: Miliza Korjus, Vol. 3

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Miliza Korjus was leading coloratura soprano in the 1930s and 40s who made the U.S. home for most of her professional career, but never performed on stage there. Besides her career as a recitalist, she's largely remembered for her role in The Great Waltz, a biopic of Johann Strauss, Jr., for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1938. She's reputed to have had a large voice, but it sounds relatively small on this Lebendige Vergangenheit release. She was legendary for her stratospheric coloratura, which is amply on display in these selections, most of which are waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr., (sung in English), around which she embroiders a dazzling display of vocal fireworks. In her upper register she does have remarkable facility, accuracy, and security, but her voice tends to get chirpy and hard-edged in its highest reaches. That tendency is least pronounced in the three selections from The Great Waltz, which are genuinely charming. In general, though, her voice lacks warmth and has an edge that keeps it from being immediately appealing, in spite of her virtuosity. The assorted accompanying orchestras led by a number of conductors provide strong, sensitive support. The balance is good and the sound is variable, but the engineers have managed to minimize the hiss, so it's not too distracting.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:35
2
4:32
3
3:46
4
4:05
Künstler-Leben (Artists' Life), waltz for orchestra, Op. 316 (RV 316)
5
4:33
6
4:52
7
3:54
8
5:00
9
6:26
10
3:13
Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron), operetta (RV 511)
11
3:22
Norma, opera
12
4:47
13
3:36
Die Fledermaus (The Bat), ballet music from Act 2 of the operetta (RV 503-7)
14
3:08
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), opera, K. 384
15
4:33
blue highlight denotes track pick