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The Salzburg Festival Mourns Sena Jurinac

23 NOV 2011

published in: Opera, General

Sena Jurinac, Photo: Archive SF
“Sena Jurinac gave the Festival magic moments for which both audiences and critics celebrated her in equal measure” – with these words, Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler expressed her sadness at the passing of this wonderful singer.

In Salzburg during the post-war period, she was among the artists who gave the Festival its outstanding international reputation.

In 1947, Sena Jurinac made her Festival debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, instantly becoming an audience favourite.

During the following summer, she enjoyed triumphal success as Cherubino in Herbert von Karajan’s Le nozze di Figaro and as Eros in Orpheus and Eurydice. For example, the Wiener Zeitung praised her in exalted terms after the premiere: “Divine in appearance, expression, musicality – that is Sena Jurinac as Eros”.

During successive seasons, Sena Jurinac consolidated her reputation as a standard-setting artistic personality in Mozart and Strauss roles. Thus, Max Kaindl-Hönig wrote about her portrayal of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier under Herbert von Karajan – the production which marked the triumphal opening of the new Großes Festspielhaus – in the Salzburger Nachrichten: “As Quinquin, Sena Jurinac cut the best figure among the entire cast. She truly had the ability to be ‘a young gentlemen…’ and yet, her acting and lyrical interpretation gave the enchantment of the most natural expressivity to the ephebe-like tenderness of this role.”

Rabl-Stadler: “I am particularly glad that last month, on the occasion of her 90th birthday, I invited Sena Jurinac to the Festival premiere of Ariadne auf Naxos in 2012 – after all, her own performance as The Composer in this opera in 1964 is unforgettable.” At the time, critic Ludwig Wismeyer, writing in the Münchner Merkur, said it best: “Which leaves the real ace of the evening: Sena Jurinac’s Composer. From the first measure, the passion of his youthful Sturm und Drang burned within her; and thanks to a voice which combines beauty with greatness, rhapsody with temperament, she continued to grow towards the grand eruptions. Today, this Composer has no equal, and that alone makes the trip to Salzburg worthwhile.”

Rabl-Stadler: “The black banner waving from the Festspielhaus today is just a small token of the great sadness and gratitude we feel.”