Miliza Korjus sings Mozart, Donzetti, Delibes, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Gounod, …

Miliza Korjus sings Mozart, Donzetti, Delibes, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Gounod, …
Living Voices series
Hänssler Classic 94509 [CD]

Miliza Korjus (1912-1980), the “Queen of Pyrotechnics”, sings with a crystalline precision, reminiscent of Joan Sutherland, and a purity of voice akin to Natalie Dessay. During the height of her operatic career, 1933-1936, Korjus had the flexibility, dynamic vocal range, and brightness to become the quintessential lyric coloratura. Hänssler Classic brings her voice back to life by remastering the very Electrola recordings that made her singing “immortal.”
Korjus’ selections include the bread-and-butter of the coloratura repertoire such as Lakmé, Olympia, Lucia, and Konstanze, but also enhance the selection with virtuosic show pieces of von Weber, Rossini, and J. Strauss. The technical precision and vocal purity most definitely surpass the involvement of text and emotion, yet it seems to be a small price to pay for such perfection. Her most impressive arias include “Les oiseaux dans la charmille” and “Ombre légère”, featuring a beautiful clarity and flexibility even in the most extreme registers.
Hänssler Classic’s remastered recording is also impressive. Recording the upper extremities of the human voice had not been mastered during the time of the original recordings, 1934-1936, but they have certainly captured Korjus’ upper register with pure brilliance. Yet there are moments when a fuller, more acoustic sound is wished, especially in the top voice. All in all, this is an impressive recording with impeccable virtuosity, which bodes well alongside the coloratura queens of today.
Sarah Hoffman