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Sena Jurinac (b1921)

Sena Jurinac was born Srebrenka Jurinac: her father, a doctor, was Croatian and her mother Viennese. Having studied at the Zagreb Academy of Music and with Milka Kostrenčić, who also taught Zinka Milanov, she made her operatic stage debut at Zagreb nine days before her twenty-first birthday, as Mimì / La Bohème. During the following two years she sang the Countess / Le nozze di Figaro, Freia / Das Rheingold, in the premiere of the revised version of Werner Egk’s radio opera Columbus and in various Yugoslav operas.

In 1943 Jurinac was awarded a scholarship to study at Anna von Mildenburg’s summer course at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the following year was contracted by the Vienna State Opera. Here Karl Böhm’s secretary, believing that the pronunciation of her first name Srebrenka would be problematic for Austrians, suggested that she shorten it to Sena. Three days after her arrival at the Vienna State Opera the city and opera house came under heavy Allied bombardment and her debut
with the company was delayed until May Day 1945, when a performance of Le nozze di Figaro was mounted under Josef Krips for the Russian occupying army, with Jurinac as Cherubino.




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