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Sena Jurinac (Soprano)

Born: October 24, 1921 - Travnik, Bosnia (Yugoslavia)
Died: November 22, 2011 - near Augsburg, Germany

The famous Yugoslav-Austrian soprano, Sena Jurinac, actual name was Srebrenka. Her father was a Croatian doctor, her mother Viennese. She showed early signs of a musical talent and studied at the Zagreb Academy of Music, and also with Milka Kostrennin (the teacher of Zinka Milanov).

Sena Jurinac nade her debut as Mimì at Zagreb in 1942. In the following two years she sang the Countess, Freia, Isabella in Werner Egk’s premiere Columbus as well as in Yugoslavian operas. In 1944 (she was by then only 23 years old) she was contracted to the Vienna State Opera by Karl Böhm. Because of the War she was not able to sing until 1946 there (her first role was Cherubino). In the first year at the Staatsoper she had to sing more than 150 performances a year (far too much for a young singer). In the autumn of that year she came to London with the Vienna ensemble, singing Dorabella, the part she took with the Glyndebourne Opera at the Edinburgh Festival, where Fritz Busch became her mentor, and where she sang regularly for many years. She quickly established as one of the most admired members of the “Wiener Ensemble” (which included Irmgard Seefried, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Lisa della Casa, Anton Dermota, Erich Kunz and others). In 1950 she appeared as Fiordiligi at Glyndebourne, to be followed by Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Ilia, the Countess and Cherubino (one of her greatest creations). At the Salzburg Festival she sang Dorabella, Cherubino and Amor, Eurydike, Marzelline, Elisabetta and Octavian (another highlight role). She performed the Countess in 1962 and the Composer in 1964. Regular appearances included performances at Covent Garden. In 1960 she sang an ardent and impassioned Octavian at the re-opened Festspielhaus at Salzburg opposite Lisa della Casa. Under the guidance of Herbert von Karajan she began to sing heavier roles: Desdemona, Leonora in La Forza del Destino, Elisabetta, Marina, Tosca, Butterfly, Jenufa, Iphigenia and even Leonore.

Sena Jurinac said farewell to the operatic stage as Marschallin at the Vienna State Opera in 1983 but continued to give recitals. She has been a sought-after singing coach for many years in Europe and the USA.

Source: Cantabile-Subito Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Kurt Redel


BWV 243

Links to other Sites

Jurinac, Sena (Cantabile-Subito)
Sena Jurinac (Ariadna auf Naxos)

The Art of Sena Jurinac (Classical CD Review)
Sena Jurinac (London Master Classes)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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