Miro Skala

Miro Skala

June 13, 1909 - February 16, 1969

Picture of Miro Skala

Miro Skala as the Duke of Mantua in Zürich 1950

Miro Skala (Myroslav Starytsky) was born June 13, 1909 in the town of Skala, in western Ukraine. He started singing early as his father was the local choir director. Until his late twenties he mostly sang musical theater. On one such occasion, in 1937, a member of the audience happened to be Adamo Didur. The famous basso recognized the young singer's potential for opera and encouraged him to enter the Institute of Music in Lviv. After completing two years of study with Didur at the Institute he received the first prize in voice and an opportunity to make his operatic debut as Faust. Starytsky continued singing at the Lviv Opera Theater (Barinkay in Gypsy Baron, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Ivan in Zaporozhets za Dunayem) while enrolled in the Vienna Academy of Music for further vocal study. He received his diploma from the Academy with distinction in 1942 and was immediately offered a contract as first tenor with the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern.  During 1943-44 he sang with the L'Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg. This was a great opportunity that also provided valuable experience with guest appearances in Brno, Leipzig, Prague and Berlin.

In 1945 Starytsky returned to Vienna to join the Volksoper Wien and started singing from then on under the name of "Miro Skala". He achieved such popularity in Vienna and in all the major venues in Austria that in 1946 the Bureau Concerts de Valmalete engaged him for a series of concerts in France. In January of 1947 he made his French concert debut at Salle Gaveau in Paris. Many appearances followed on radio, television, in concerts and opera in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Paris. He improved his French repertoire singing Faust, Romeo, Nadir, Werther. Skala sang at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 1948 (Dimitri in Boris Godunov, Sadko and Kitege), at the L'Opéra National de Paris in 1949, at the Opernhaus Zürich  in 1950 (Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Ismaele in Nabucco) On October 12, 1951 he created the role of Igor in the delayed premier of Bizet's Ivan IV at the Le Grand Theater de Bordeaux. By 1952 Skala had appeared in almost all the major opera houses of France, Belgium, Switzerland and North Africa. From 1953 to 1955 he was under contract with the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels singing Rodolfo in La Boheme, Turiddu, Lensky, Faust, Pinkerton, Nadir, Duke of Mantua and Cavaradossi.

Between 1955 and 1962 Skala made several concert tours of the United States, Canada and Great Britain. In 1963 Skala founded a music-drama studio in Paris, where he taught until his untimely death in 1969. All in all Skala sang over thirty operatic roles and performed in over a hundred concert recitals. Skala recorded several albums of art songs and arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs and a collection of unpublished opera arias. Most of his recordings with orchestra were done with the Belgium National Orchestra or the orchestra of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie with Rene Defossez always conducting.

I wish to thank Victor Roman for the Biographical Notes

Miro Skala sings Je crois entendre
In RA Format
I wish to thank Georges Voisin and Lysiana Medine for the Recording

Interview with Miro Skala (In French), Paris 1958

Interview with Skala (Entr'acte 2958, Paris)

I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the copy of the article.


Back to Index