Obituary: legendary soprano Edita Gruberová dies at 74

Opera singer
(Photo courtesy of the Bayerische Staatsoper)

Slovak-born coloratura soprano Edita Gruberová died at the age of 74 on October 18, 2021 in Zurich.

Born in Rača, Bratislava, on December 23, 1946, Gruberová began her musical studies at the Bratislava Conservatory and studied under Mária Medvecká. She continued her studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and became a singer of the Lúčnica folk ensemble and performed several times at the Slovak National Theater.

In 1968 she made her opera debut in Bratislava as Rosina in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”. After her debut she won a competition in Toulouse and then sang as a soloist in the opera ensemble of the JG Tajovský Theater in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.

In 1970, she made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper and broke out with her famous Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute”. She became a soloist for Vienna and a permanent resident of the west.

After conquering the Viennese audience, the soprano was invited to sing at Glyndebourne in 1973 as Queen of the Night and achieved international recognition in 1976 when she sang Zerbinetta during the premiere of a new production of “Ariadne auf Naxos “.

In 1977, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Queen of the Night and returned as “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Elvira in “I Puritani”. The same year, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival under the direction of Herbert von Karajan.

The soprano will then sing at the Teatro alla Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper and the Opernhaus in Zurich, among others.

In 2001, Gruberová withdrew from all his performances at the Zurich Opera, after Alexander Pereira, then manager of the company, refused to claim responsibility for the injury to his dancing daughter, which ruined his career. She will return home in 2012 replacing Jonas Kaufmann and after Pereira’s departure, she finally performs in an opera staged in a cover of “Roberto Devereux”.

On March 27, 2019, she performed her last opera staged in the role of Elizabeth I in “Roberto Devereux” at the Bayerische Staatsoper. She would focus on concerts and masterclasses and officially retired from performing in September 2020, in part due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its last performance was in Gersthofen on December 20, 2019, while the two scheduled farewell performances by semi-staged Roberto Devereux at the State Theater Košice at the end of November 2020 were finally canceled due to the pandemic.

Gruberová was an Austrian and Bavarian Kammersängerin and honorary member of the Wiener Staatsoper.

Her repertoire is varied as she sings works by Mozart, Gluck, Humperdinck, Verdi, Strauss and Massenet. However, she was best known for her roles as Bel Canto, especially Donizetti’s Tudor Queens trilogy.

The soprano left many recordings including a film of “Rigoletto” with Pavarotti, “Lucia di Lammermoor”, the trilogy of the three queens, “Lucrezia Borgia”, “La Straniera”, “Norma”, “Linda di Chamonix”, ” Semiramide ”,“ Il Barbiere di Siviglia ”and“ la Traviata ”, among others.


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