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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Anja Silja, (April 17, 1940 - )

  Vibrant and everlasting German Soprano Anja Silja turns 72 today.  This is rare footage of her Brunnhilde from Osaka in 1967, conducted by Thomas Schippers, Wotan is Theo Adam.  While not a natural Brunnhilde voice, her battle cry is actually rather good.

Anja Silja as Salome 
I first heard her final scene from Salome many years ago and her silver, almost vibrato-less voice captures the Judaean Princess' impetousness perfectly.  Her natural physical beauty, helped immensely when her voice lost it's sheen, not to mention her marriages to Wieland Wagner and Andre Cluytens.  

She since reinvented herself more a a singing character actress with a vast repertoire (everything from Rosina and the Queen of the Night when she was still in her teens through to Madame de Croissy in Dialogue of the Carmelites) and I believe she was still performing at the age of 70.  She has even tried her hand at directing opera, her debut being Lohengrin in Brussels, 1990.  

Happy birthday Anja Silja, you brought vibrancy and glamour to late 20th Century opera.




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