Anja Silja – sopran
Hon debuterade som Rosina i Barberaren från Sevilla i Braunschweig 1956, men själva karriären började med rollen som Nattens drottning i Mozart´s Trollflöjten,1959 på Staatsoper i Wien under ledning av Karl Böhm och på Aix-en-Provence.
Andra tidiga roller bestod av Santuzza in På Sicilien, de fyra hjältinnorna i Hoffmanns äventyr, Konstanze i Enleveringen ur seraljen av Mozart och Fiordiligi i Così fan tutte, men också Leonora i Trubaduren, av Verdi.
Hon debuterade 1960 som Senta i Den flygande holländaren i Bayreuth.Man kunde höra henne i Frankfurt, Toulouse, Paris, Turin,, Neapel, Stuttgart, Zürich, Barcelona, Geneve Holland, Budapest och London.
Hon debuterade i San Francisco som Salome 1968 och har sjungit i Chicago. Vidare har hon sjungit i Trieste på Festivalen i Edinburgh och Salzburg. Hon sjöng Fidelio och Salome på Metropolitan Opera i New York.
Wikipedia In English
Silja began her operatic career at a very early age, with her grandfather, Egon Friedrich Maria Anders van Rijn, as her voice teacher. She sang Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Braunschweig in 1956, following this with Micaëla in Carmen and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos.
The important part of her career began in 1959, when she sang the Queen of Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Vienna State Opera (under Karl Böhm) and at theAix-en-Provence Festival. France-Soir dubbed her “a second Callas.” Other early roles included Leonora in Il trovatore, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, the four heroines of Les contes d’Hoffmann, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte.
She made her debut in 1960 at the Bayreuth Festival, as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer. At Bayreuth (until 1967), she also sang Elsa von Brabant in Lohengrin(opposite Astrid Varnay), Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, Eva in Die Meistersinger, Venus in Tannhäuser, Freia in Das Rheingold, the Waldvogel in Siegfried, etc. Outside Bayreuth, the soprano appeared in Wieland Wagner’s productions of Salome, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre and Siegfried (as Brünnhilde), Elektra, Fidelio, Otello, Lulu,Wozzeck (conducted by Pierre Boulez), and other operas. Of her Salome, Harold Rosenthal wrote in Opera, in 1968:
Anja Silja’s performance was a tour-de-force. Her voice is not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination, but it is clearly projected, and every phrase carries its overtones—psychological not musical—which suggest the child-like degenerate, over-sexed princess in all too clear a manner. Her nervous, almost thin body is never still; she rolls on her stomach and on her back; she crawls, she slithers, she leaps, she kneels…. There is no denying that this is one of the great performances of our time.
Additional new roles in the 1960s were Sieglinde (Die Walküre), Ariadne, Jenny Smith (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Violetta Valéry (La traviata), Turandot (first Liù, then the title role), Lucy (The Telephone), Cassandre (Les troyens, opposite Jon Vickers) and Renata in The Fiery Angel. She was seen in Frankfurt, Toulouse, Paris, Turin, Naples, Stuttgart, Zurich, Barcelona, Geneva, The Netherlands, Budapest, London (Royal Festival Hall, then Covent Garden), San Francisco (her American debut, in 1968, as Salome), and Chicago. That first Lady Macbeth, in 1967, was conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, with whom she had a long relationship, including a marriage that produced three children. They divorced in the 1990s, during Dohnányi’s tenure with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Silja continued her career with appearances at Trieste, the Edinburgh Festival, the Salzburg Festival, Barcelona, Metropolitan Opera (Fidelio and Salome, 1972), Paris (Erwartung, under Sir Georg Solti), Berlin, Cologne (La fanciulla del West), Vienna (world premiere of Einem’s Kabale und Liebe) and Brussels. Other new roles in this period were Emilia Marty in The Makropoulos Case, Leonora in La forza del destino,Médée, Die lustige Witwe, Carmen (staged by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle), La juive, Katya Kabanova, Tosca, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, and Die Königen von Saba (conducted by Julius Rudel).
In the 1980s, Silja added Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opposite Chester Ludgin), La Cubana, Regan in Lear, Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus (with Karita Mattila and Judith Blegen, staged by Maurice Béjart), the Kostelnička in Jenůfa (at the Glyndebourne Festival), Grete in Der ferne Klang, and the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten (opposite Dame Gwyneth Jones as Barak’s Wife).
Silja made her debut as a stage director in 1990 at Brussels with Lohengrin. She then assumed the roles of Agave in The Bassarids (at Carnegie Hall), Ortrud in Lohengrin (in Robert Wilson’s production), Herodias inSalome, Anna I in Die sieben Todsünden, Klytämnestra in Elektra, Jocasta in Œdipus rex (opposite René Kollo), Mother Marie of the Incarnation in Dialogues des Carmélites, Pierrot lunaire, Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, Countess Geschwitz in Lulu, Madame de Croissy in Dialogues des Carmélites (her Teatro alla Scala debut, under Riccardo Muti, 2004; three years later she sang in Jenůfa there), La voix humaine, Míla’s Mother in Osud, the Comtesse in Pique-dame, and the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel. She was first heard in Cleveland, Boston, Madrid, Leipzig, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro in these recent seasons. Her 2001 recording of Jenůfa, from Covent Garden, won a Grammy Award.
Mme Silja now resides in Paris, having purchased the former home of the conductor André Cluytens. In January 2013, she sang the role of the Grandmother (“Babulenka”) in The Gambler, in Frankfurt, in the production by Harry Kupfer.