The best coloratura of the last century
M. Tietjen | Syracuse, NY, USA | 08/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The glamorous Miliza Korjus belonged to an extinct species of coloratura soprano, unfortunately driven from existence by Maria Callas and her ilk--not a jibe against Callas, who I greatly respect, but a simple fact. The repertoire that this album includes, except for a few selections such as Lucia's mad scene, which is now a Serious Aria, is now derided as being "nightingale territory," despite the fact that very few nightingales exist anymore, and those few that do record these songs, such as Gruberova, Dessay, and Jo, are almost apologetic about it (read Dessay's liner notes to her "Vocalise" album--she's obviously embarrassed to be recording such drivel). And NOBODY records "Funniculi, funnicula" anymore. That said, modern coloraturas, in fact modern singers in general, can learn a lot from old recordings such as Korjus's here, as well as Mado Robin and Erna Sack's. These three singers (and others from that era) sing for the pure joy of singing and making music, not making "art" or "drama" following Callas. And there's nothing wrong with that.
As far as Korjus in paticular, a previous reviewer compared her to Dessay, Sack, and Robin. She may not be as emotionally invested as Dessay (although how emotionally invested can you be in, say, "La danza?"), and she may not have the high range of Sack and Robin (although she manages to squeak out a sustained A-flat in Dinorah's aria), but you simply will not find a more accurate, agile voice on recording. She makes Emma Kirkby and Sumi Jo, two of the best and fastest coloraturas around today, sound positively sloppy. Her coloratura on some of these pieces is simply breathtaking, particularly in "Aufforderung zum tanz," Dinorah's scene, and Adam's variations. And this without the modern corrective recording technology which I'm sure most singers, even phenoms like Dessay and Jo, must use. Her ornamentation on a few of these has not been matched by anyone since. Again, she is singing before a lot of ornamentation became standardized, and is not afraid even to through a few extra high notes in the Verdi and Mozart selections. Alabiev's "Nightingale" becomes interesting for possibly the first and only time in its history (admittedly, Beverly Hoch's version comes pretty close).
Speaking of recording technology, there is really very little distortion on this album considering its age. Whoever remastered it deserves an award. The only distortions tend to come during rapid switches from low range to high. Fantastic album all around."
Expressive and Impressive
Tenor Mateo Ortega | Los Angeles County CA USA | 07/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I purchased this I was a little Unsure what to expect. I already have recordings of many other coloratura singers- Dessay, Sack, and Robin among them. While Miliza is not as expressive as Dessay and not as powerful as Robin,nonetheless i think that she is impressive. Not only in her ability to float the High Notes, but also in the joy that she exudes in her singing. As for the quality of the recording itself; it was fine. There were not many recording distortions. All-in-all worth the purchase."
Miliza Korjus - coloratura supreme
L. J. Steel | New Zealand | 10/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one incredible CD. It has been transcribed expertly from the original source material, and certainly does not sound like it was recorded quite a few decades ago. How come we never get sopranos of this calibre these days? Highly recommended for anyone wanting to hear a top-notch soprano. The delivery time from Amazon was also supreme."