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Happy Birthday Anja Silja

The evergreen singing actress was born 73 years ago in Berlin.

Photo: Louis Melancon Metropolitan Opera


  • 1
    Camille says:

    Seventy-three? Why not just say the truth—thirty-nine!

    Or how old was Emilia Mary—3--??

    What an autobio she could write, or perhaps already has written.

    • 1.1
      Camille says:

      MarTY, Emilia Marty, ja, ja!

    • 1.2
      Marcello says:

      Die Sehnsucht nach dem Unerreichbaren: Wege und Irrwege von Anja Silja (2002)

      • 1.2.1
        La Cieca says:

        Why is it that the titles of German autobiographies all sound like advanced textbooks in clinical psychiatry?

          Camille says:

          Because they are?

          tannengrin says:

          Doesn’t that come with the territory? How else can you survive working in the operatic environment and with the personalities involved?

          kraneled says:

          for “german ears” it doesn’t sound like a “textbook for clinical psychiatry” at all.
          it describes exactly the desire for the unattainability, that means for her to work her whole life very hard on this idea of truth and the hope to fulfill the composers wishes.
          Its very personal and a shame it wasn’t translated in english

          • havfruen says:

            And because German verbs come at the end it can take a lifetime to fulfill the composer’s wishes… and a lifetime for Wagner’s operas to make their point.

    • 1.3
      armerjacquino says:

      Thirty nine? You’re confusing Silja, as so many have, with her birthday twin Victoria Beckham…

  • 2
    oedipe says:

    Let’s see: 39, that makes her only slightly younger than the “aging” Netrebko, so it’s time already for Silja to stop displaying her bare arms on stage, no?

    Wrong! I saw Anja two days ago at Garnier as the witch in the new production of Hänsel und Gretel. At the end, she takes off her witch cape and reveals a red sequined evening dress, sleeveless, low-cut with shoulder straps, slit on one side all the way to the thigh. She looked STUNNING, what an incredible silhouette!

    As for the singing, there is no lower register to speak of and the top is pretty shrill, but she is game and has a great stage presence. Everybody loved her.

    BTW, this new production was a “star moment” (for me at least): the young director Mariame Clément’s staging is a gem. Very personal, very thought provoking. It’s a pleasure to see such a talented young woman succeed in a profession that is even more male dominated than politics. I hope to see many new productions by her.

    • 2.1
      Cocky Kurwenal says:

      I saw Silja in the same role a couple of years ago and although there was nothing much to speak of vocally, she did let rip a huge top b (or thereabouts). She was great fun.

  • 3
    gerbear says:

    Having no idea it was her birthday eve, I spent part of yesterday evening watching her in the Carsen/Muti ‘Dialogues des Carmelites’ dvd. While I am greatly anticipating seeing Judith Forst in this role (and Adrianne Pieczonka as the New Prioress) in Toronto next month (also in the Carsen production), Ms Silja sets a very high standard; she was rivetting. Warmest birthday greetings!

  • 4
    Camille says:

    73 or 74—39 or 93 or 393! —Chilossà — but all in all, the high definition version of Ageless Diva.

    Still regret not buying that psychedelic album covered Tosca back in 1969, with she and James King and, I think, Fi-Di. Auf Deutsch, too. It’s probably kicking around UTube—-well, no, it’s not but this is, from the Liceu Vec Makropoulos Case in the late nineties, she in quite good voice:

    Seems I shall never hear that Tosca auf Deutsch.

    • 4.1
      Arianna a Nasso says:

      Camille -- Silja’s Tosca is on CD, without that amazing cover alas, and available cheap from German Amazon, more expensively used on USA Amazon. I think only highlights were recorded. Yes, it’s Fi-Di with Maazel and Sta Cecilia, same as the Nilsson-Corelli set, so maybe it was recorded concurrently?

      • 4.1.1
        danpatter says:

        It was indeed recorded concurrently with the Nilsson/Corelli version, and it’s great fun to hear.

  • 5
    Hippolyte says:

    Silja has always been adamant about her 1940 birthdate. Therefore, it means she sang Senta at Bayreuth at 20, Isolde in Rome at 24 and Elektra at 25 or 26, during the same year (1966) she did all four heroines in Hoffmann in Vienna, followed the next year by the Walkure Brunnhilde during the Bayreuth visit to Tokyo.

    • 5.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      I think you are right Hypo, she sang Klittie to Behrens ‘ Elektra at the Trier Antikenfestspiele, and they joked that Elektra was three years older than Mummy :-)
      They were very good friends, going back to the early Frankfurt days with Von Dohnanyi, when the young Behrens sang Rusalka and the glorious Fiordiligi!

  • 6
    Salome Where She Danced says:

    _Sounding_73 since 1973.

  • 7
    zinka says:

    I will NEVER forgive her.I asked her for the Makropolous I could live to 356…so I could FINALLY hear my Fischer-Dieskau tapes…

  • 8
    operacat says:

    So she would have been 19 when she made this video:

    • 8.1

      And I would kill an army to see the whole thing. If I am not wrong, it is from Aix and it also has Gundula Janowitz as Pamina. The Ach ich fuls has surfaced. Maybe that is all there is, but I keep hoping a full copy will turn out.