(b Warsaw, 17 Aug 1913; d Culver City, CA, 27 Aug 1980). Polish soprano. Daughter of a Swedish diplomat, she travelled widely in her youth, studying, it is said, in as many as 16 conservatories; she also learnt from recordings of famous coloratura sopranos such as Tetrazzini and Galli-curci. In 1929 she gave her first public recital and toured eastern Europe. She was engaged by the Berlin Staatsoper in 1933, making her début as Gilda in Rigoletto. Other lyric and coloratura roles followed, but she became most widely known through some best-selling records and her appearance in The Great Waltz (1938), a film about the life of Johann Strauss. In the same year Korjus toured the United States where she reappeared with considerable success at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1944, having meanwhile lived in Mexico. She continued to give concerts but never returned to opera or films. The best of her recordings, such as the Prayer from Lakmé, show a distinctive tone and style. Her range and flexibility were exceptional and, with her attractive appearance, might have ensured a career comparable to that of her contemporary, lily Pons: perhaps there was not room in the USA for both.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.