A singer's life and death.
A couple of years ago, I posted a bit about the history of the Jewish community in Innsbruck, including some photos taken in the Jewish section of one of Innsbruck's main cemeteries, the Westfriedhof. Though it did not appear in my post on Jewish Innsbuck, the above photo was taken during my visit to the Westfriedhof. This tombstone caught my attention because it was a bit different from the others around it, set apart by Cyrillic letters and by the deceased's stated profession of "Opera Singer," which stood out among the neighboring graves of military officers, rabbis, and tradespeople. I like to visit cemeteries because I'm interested in the stories of the people who are buried there; as I snapped this photo of the final resting place of Opernsänger Yury Shklyar, I found myself thinking, "There must be quite a story here."
I knew nothing more of the life of Yury Shklyar - and, to be honest, I didn't think much more about him - until I read this recent post from The Practice Room, the blog of the pseudonymous 'Marcellina,' an opera singer based in Innsbruck. A colleague of Yury Shklyar during his last years, Marcellina provides a tersely eloquent portrait of an accomplished and very gifted man who finished his career in a place where he likely did not expect to end up, having moved to Tyrol from his native Russia in order to receive care for a terminal illness and to provide a more secure future for his family. I will say no more than that, because I want you to read the original post on The Practice Room. I am grateful to Marcellina for helping me to learn something about the life and death of Yury Shklyar; the video of one of Shklyar's performances shared on Marcellina's blog also makes me regret that I never had the opportunity to see and hear him in person. May he rest in peace, and may his name be written in the Book of Life.