The Soprano Sena Jurinac, 90

November 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM | Posted in Books, Opera | Leave a comment
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The once famous soprano, Sena Jurinac is just recently dead at 90 and that’s about average for a soprano. They are a particularly hearty race.

When  I see that an opera singer has died I cut the obit from the newspaper and go to my shelves for The Last Prima Donnas by Lanfranco Rasponi. In 1982 he published his book of interviews with female opera singers and many were old then and he caught them just before their last curtain call. Here is Rasponi in great form at the beginning of his chapter on Jurinac, a Yugoslav who ruled in Vienna:

I interviewed her in 1979… She projects total assurance, and yet there were moments during our meeting when I felt that perhaps it was not as complete as it appeared on the surface. Of all the divas I met with, she was the one whose conversations – smooth, elegant, ingratiating – was the most baffling: statements were often contradictory, and terms were not always explicit.

I have just one of her albums but it is a particularly beautiful one in which she sings Schumann and Respighi. Opera is a land that I used to live in and one that I find particular pleasure in revisiting.

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