V1156. MILIZA KORJUS: Songs by Johann Strauss; Arias from Entführung (previously Unpublished), Die Fledermaus & Norma. (Austria) Preiser 89679, recorded 1934-47. - 717281896795
“The glamorous Miliza Korjus (1912-1980) sings a top G-sharp in her wonderful (if chirpy recording) of the Shadow Song from DINORAH. This American-born soprano of Swedish extraction became world famous for her 1938 Hollywood film, THE GREAT WALTZ, based on the life of Johann Strauss. German audiences of the time, however, knew the soprano from her work at the Berlin Staatsoper and the series of remarkably accurate recordings she made of pyrotechnical arias and display pieces. Korjus was a very musical singer with a coloratura voice of great brilliance, as well as an exceptionally lovely middle register. Her technical abilities were prodigious; intricate scale work, arpeggios, and high staccati figures were tossed-off like a well-oiled machine with uncommon clarity and precision. Unfortunately, Korjus favored an unorthodox method for singing her high register: squeezing out her highest notes in a vibrato-less, straight tone. Her top register soon disappeared after a few years of this destructive manipulation so that by 1942, less that ten years after some of her most impressive altissimo recordings, Korjus barely had a high D.”
- Nicholas E. Limansky, THE LEGACY OF THE DIVA
“While still in her teens, Korjus joined the Dumka Chorus in Kiev and toured the Soviet Union. During a visit to Leningrad in 1927, she crossed the border into Estonia and joined her father and brother who had settled there after Estonia won its independence from Russia. Under her father's guidance (he played the violin and greatly admired opera), she began making concert appearances in the Baltic states. In 1929 she married Dr. Kuno Foelsch, a physicist, and moved to Germany. She continued her concert career there and in 1933 was engaged by the Berlin State Opera, under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwängler. Her operatic appearances and recordings quickly propelled her to the forefront of European singers. Her records were heard by Irving Thalberg of MGM who signed her to a 10-year film contract. She arrived in Hollywood in March of 1936. Thalberg's death in September of that year delayed production of her first film, and it was not until May of 1938 that she started work on THE GREAT WALTZ (1938). The film was well received and she was nominated for an Academy Award, one of the few singers of the period to be so honored. As a vehicle for her second picture, MGM bought the screen rights to the novel Sandor Rozsa, a story based on the outlaw of the early 19th century who ambushed the wealthy as they traveled between Budapest and Vienna (a kind of Hungarian Robin Hood). The working title of the picture was 'Guns and Fiddles' with music derived from Liszt and arranged by Emmerich Kálman. Her co-stars were to be Robert Taylor (as Sándor Rozsa), Hedy Lamarr and Franchot Tone. On May 28, 1940, just two weeks before the scheduled production date of this new picture, she was seriously injured in an auto accident. Her left leg was so badly crushed that the doctors at first considered amputation. However, after several months in hospital, where she underwent numerous operations and bone grafts, she did recover use of the leg, but she never made another film in Hollywood.
By the summer of 1941 she had sufficiently recovered to undertake a concert tour of South America. The tour began in Mexico and shortly afterward the U.S. entered World War II. Having spent her youth in war and revolution, she decided to remain in Mexico for the duration. She made one film there, CABALLERÍA DEL IMPERIO (1942) ('Imperial Chivalry'). She returned to the U.S. in October of 1944 to appear at Carnegie Hall.
Eventually, she settled in Los Angeles and made concert appearances throughout North America. In 1952, she married Dr. Walter Shector, a physician, and retired from the stage, preferring instead to make recordings. She remained a bright fixture in southern California society and was greatly admired and sought out by visiting artists such as Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills. She died of heart failure in August, 1980.”
- Richard Foelsch, Internet Movie Database