Not quite 90, New York mourns a stalwart soprano

Not quite 90, New York mourns a stalwart soprano


norman lebrecht

July 11, 2016

Maralin Niska, who died on Saturday in Santa Fe, sang more leading roles at New York City Opera – 29 – than anyone else.

She made her debut in 1967 in Marriage of Figaro and was the go-to soprano for two decades. She was a standout Salome.

maralin Niska_Salome_1975 (1)


She also appeared at the Met and with other US companies. Maralin would have been 90 in December.


  • john Niles says:

    I worked with her both in New York and in Washington, DC. She was a very fine artist and a lot of fun to work with. She was part of what is now a bygone era of operatic performing in this country, alas.

  • Bruce says:

    A fairly stunning concert version of Elektra from 1993:

  • Peter Owen says:

    I heard Miss Niska at the proms in the 70s in the Missa Solemnis conducted by Boulez. It was not a happy evening for anyone involved, especially Beethoven. But I subsequently heard her as Turandot which was thrilling. R.I.P.

  • Dan P. says:

    In Late August 1971 as a kid I heard her in the performance of a lifetime at the NYCO – Elina Makropoulos. The audience was stunned by the time she burned the formula at the end. Makropoulos was sung in English but there was no doubt that she inhabited the role completely. Since then I’ve heard the opera sung at the Met with Jessye Norman (in English), Catherine Malfitano (in Czech) and even performances conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, but nothing ever came close to Niska in this bare-budget NYCO staging. It was one of maybe a half dozen performances over a half century that I’ll never forget.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Actually New York is a lot older than 90.

  • Daniel Madigan says:

    Maralin Niska was a stunning, powerful Violetta.

    If she had been in her prime these last twenty five years or so she would have been the prima donna at the Met. A great beauty with a beautiful voice. RIP