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Edita Gruberová

Edita Gruberová
2013 Edita Gruberová (8728833715).jpg
Gruberová in 2013
Born(1946-12-23)23 December 1946
Died18 October 2021(2021-10-18) (aged 74)
Zürich, Switzerland
OccupationOperatic soprano
Years active1968–2020
OrganisationVienna State Opera

Edita Gruberová (23 December 1946 – 18 October 2021) was a Slovak coloratura soprano. Based at the Vienna State Opera, she enjoyed huge success internationally in roles such as Mozart's Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. In her later career, she explored heavier roles in the Italian bel canto repertoire, such as the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Elvira in Bellini's I puritani, and Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux. She is remembered as the "Slowakische Nachtigal" (Slovak Nightingale).


Gruberová was born in Rača, Bratislava, to a German father and an Hungarian mother. Gruberová began her musical studies at the Bratislava Conservatory (Konzervatórium v Bratislave), where she was a student of Mária Medvecká [cs]. She then continued at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (VŠMU). While studying, she was a singer of the Lúčnica folk ensemble and appeared several times in the Slovak National Theatre. Later she studied with Ruthilde Boesch in Vienna.


In 1968, Gruberová made her operatic debut in Bratislava as Rosina in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. After winning a singing competition in Toulouse, she was then engaged as a soloist of the opera ensemble of the J. G. Tajovský Theatre in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, from 1968 to 1970. Since communist Czechoslovakia was going through normalisation, during which the borders to non-communist countries were closed, Medvecká surreptitiously arranged for an audition for Gruberová at the Vienna State Opera in the summer of 1969. She was immediately engaged, and made her breakthrough the following year when she appeared as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In 1971, Gruberová decided to emigrate to the West. In subsequent years, she became a soloist in Vienna and was invited to perform at many of the most important opera houses in the world, especially in coloratura roles.

Gruberová made her debut at Glyndebourne in 1973 as the Queen of the Night. She achieved international recognition in 1976 when she sang Zerbinetta in the premiere of a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss in Vienna, conducted by Karl Böhm. She first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in 1977, again as the Queen of the Night. In 1977, she first appeared at the Salzburg Festival, as Thibault in Verdi's Don Carlo, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. She appeared as Gilda in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's 1982 film of Rigoletto, alongside Ingvar Wixell in the title role and Luciano Pavarotti as the Duke, and in his 1988 film of Mozart's Così fan tutte, alongside Delores Ziegler and Ferruccio Furlanetto. Gruberová made her Royal Opera House debut as Giulietta in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi in 1984. Other important roles include the title roles of Verdi's La traviata, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, and Massenet's Manon. She performed as Konstanze in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. She appeared as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at La Scala in Milan in 1987, as Marie in Doizetti's La fille du régiment in 1987, in the title role of Rossini's Semiramide in Zürich in 1982, and as Eliisabetta in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux in Vienna in 1990. In 2006, she added the title role in Bellini's Norma to her repertoire, at the Bavarian State Opera.

Gruberová in 2008

In 2001, she withdrew from all her performances at the Zürich Opera, after Alexander Pereira [de], then intendant, refused that her dancer daughter's injury, which ruined her career, was an occupational accident. In 2012, she appeared there again in a recital, stepping in for Jonas Kaufmann. Later that year, after Pereira's departure, she finally performed with the company again, in a revival of Roberto Devereux.

She gave her last opera performance on 27 March 2019 as Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux at the Bavarian State Opera, after which she focused on concerts and masterclasses. She officially retired from the stage in September 2020, in part due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic which made planning further performances difficult. Her last performance was in Gersthofen on 20 December 2019, as two planned farewell performances in a semi-staged Roberto Devereux at the State Theatre Košice at the end of November 2020 were eventually cancelled due to the pandemic.

Gruberová was an Austrian and Bavarian Kammersängerin, and honorary member of the Vienna State Opera. She was known as the "Slowakische Nachtigal" (Slovak Nightingale).

Personal life

Gruberová was married to Stefan Klimo, composer and musicologist. They divorced in 1983 and Klimo took his own life soon afterwards. Her second husband was Friedrich Haider, a pianist and conductor. They separated in 2007. She is the mother of two daughters, including the dancer and choreographer Barbara Klimo.

Gruberová died in Zürich on 18 October 2021 at age 74.


Gruberová made many recordings, most notably in full-length opera, and extended selections from Donizetti's Tudor Queens' trilogy and other bel canto operas. In her later years, she recorded exclusively on the Nightingale label. More than a dozen of her filmed and televised opera appearances have been released on DVD, including Die Zauberflöte, Così fan tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, I puritani, Norma, Manon, Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, and Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia and Linda di Chamounix, and Ariadne auf Naxos.


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