(October 6, 1887 – July 10, 1982)
Maria Jeritza was a celebrated Moravian soprano.
She enjoyed a spectacular rise to fame and her beauty and personality earned her the nickname of The Moravian Thunderbolt.
She was long associated with the Vienna State Opera where she appeared with them many times between 1912 and 1935. She also had a major association with the Metropolitan Opera appearing with them between 1921 to 1932 and then again in 1951.
She made her debut as Elsa, in Wagner's Lohengrin, at Olomouc in 1910. When the Emperor Franz Josef heard her he immediately commanded that she be offered a contract at the Imperial Hofoper, Vienna.
There she created the roles of Blanchefleur in Kienzl's opera Der Kuhreigen (1911) and Ariadne in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos in 1912 plus she created the role of the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten for Strauss in 1919.
She was also the first Marie/Marietta in Korngold's Die tote Stadt in 1920. It was in this role that she debuted at the Metropolitan in November, 1921.
At the Met she starred in 1926 in the North American premier of Puccini's Turandot where she also created the leading soprano roles in Janáček's Jenůfa (1924) Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's I Gioielli Della Madonna (1925), Korngold's Violanta (1927), Richard Strauss' Die Ägyptische Helena (1928), and Franz von Suppé's Boccaccio (1931) and Donna Juanita (1932.)
Her popularity at both the Metropolitan and at the Vienna State Opera was immense and her signature roles there included Tosca, Salome, Carmen and Massenet's Thaïs.
She had three relatively brief marriages before her fourth long marriage which lasted until her death in 1982 at the age of 94.
Maria Jeritza made a number of 78 rpm recordings which have been converted to CD and they are available today. They are testament to an extraordinarily beautiful voice and an artist who was one of the great enduring legends of the opera world.