The Met star who is now a realtor

The Met star who is now a realtor


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2018

The Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya Guedouar had it all: a full diary, a bustling agency (ZemskyGreen), major roles ahead.

She stood in for Netrebko at Covent Garden in 2007 and was chosen to replace Angela Gheorghiu the following year as Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo.

At the Met, she starred as Natasha in War and Peace, then Liu in Turandot, then Violetta, which she took over from Netrebko both in New York and replacing her on a Japan tour.

And then, in 2014, she dropped out.

Here’s what she’s doing now, and why:

Marina Poplavskaya Guedouar CITI HABITATS
Honesty, hospitality and helpfulness define Marina’s special style. She is very dedicated to her real estate profession, and more importantly, to the discerning needs of her clients. “I look forward to helping you in every way possible during the search for your new home, and will always be available to service all your needs, with the goal to get you the best scenario and value.”  

Marina knows New York City well having lived here since 2005 and explored its diverse neighborhoods. She fell in love with Manhattan since going on her first audition at the Met Opera, and knows all the great houses in the Lincoln Center area. Since 2013 when she met her husband, Marina experienced the Upper West Side and beyond, getting to know the lovely Riverside and Upper Manhattan community. When her child was born in 2015, she became even more connected through families and educational centers. “I am deep sensitive to the fact that one’s home, and feeling happy and secure in it, is essential my clients.”  

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Marina holds an MDA in Performing Vocal Arts. She enjoyed a 28-year international career as a performer at such legendary venues as The Bolshoi Theatre, ROH Covent Garden, The Met, Berlin Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala and others.    With open communication, flexibility, sociability and humor, Marina will make your real estate search an enjoyable and enlightening one. Outside of her work, she is dedicated to family life, as well as singing, teaching and meeting friends. Marina is multi lingual speaking Russian, English, Italian and French. She is personable and engaging with people of every background.


  • H Rsn says:

    28 year career? She started in infancy did she? She had something special as a performer, and it’s sad that we don’t hear her anymore. Maybe a case of way too much, way too soon. A lesson for all young singers/future realtors.

    • Nik says:

      Indeed, she had something special as a performer. Her charisma carried her for a while but wasn’t enough in the end. Anyone who saw her from 2010 onwards could hear that something was going very wrong with her voice, and no matter how many breaks she took she couldn’t quite get it working again. A great pity.

      • Glenn Winters says:

        She strikes me as being a quality person and good musician. Her low point, however, came during a Saturday Met Opera matinee of La Traviata I heard over my car radio in which, unable to manage the final moments of “Sempre libera”, she sang one octave lower. This must have done permanent damage to her confidence and might have begun the impetus to discontinue her onstage career.

      • Erica Fox says:

        i just watched the 2012 video recording of Verdi’s Requiem with The Philadelphia Orchestra. I wasn’t familiar with her, but kept wondering how she managed to get the notes out with her jaw clenched so tightly and her mouth barely opening. Then I googled her and came across this feed. There are many reasons singers stop singing, and I can imagine the birth of her child in 2015 was a contributing factor. An international career is not for everyone, and I hope she is enjoying life after reinventing herself.

      • Paul H says:

        Interesting article from Operawire in October 2020 suggests Poppy is retraining as a mezzo – how great would that be if she can resurrect her career in a new guise? From my experience in London, she was always an attractive and engaging performer on stage. Alas, Covid makes it a terrible timing to be restarting a career in the performing arts…..


      No, she actually same for the Bolshoi at age nine.

  • John Rook says:

    Have a read of the New Yorker article ‘Travels with a Diva’ and see if you’d like to buy a house off this woman.

  • APHinCyprus says:

    The reason she “dropped out” as you put it, is that she had a vocal crisis, manifested mainly by not being able to sing in tune very much! The performances I heard her sing were deeply flawed and in fact I avoided her much earlier than 2014. The promise of her Rachel in “Juive” in concert in London quickly evaporated sadly.

    • Paul says:

      Well it proves that she is an intelligent woman, realized her predicament and cancelled her performances before waiting for the opera houses to either boot her or ignore her. It also shows that there is a (good) life even when one decides to drop out. The main thing is that SHE is happy!

    • Secret says:

      I heard her in Faust at the Met. I was aghast! First, the role was too big for her. Second, she had terrible vocal technique which is why she had a vocal crisis. She was pushing her voice. She had a lot of jaw and throat tension. I understand that was her last appearance at the Met, and rightly so. Notice that she does not teach. This is telling as it indicates she was not well trained. I feel terrible for many young Russians who are coming to European and American opera houses to sing for low fees before they are seasoned, and quickly lose their voices. Her coaches did not advise her well. I’m glad she is happy.

      • Remi says:

        Am watching her in the 2011 Faust. Adore her voice. So sorry to learn she no longer sings.

        • Ken Freed says:

          Me too. I am enjoying it

        • Steven Nathan says:

          I think she was also magnificent in Don Carlo which was just broadcast. But clearly from the other messages it seems like Lost her voice. I’m glad she found something else worthwhile to do.

  • Heavens to Betsy says:

    28 year international singing career? Nothing like starting at the age of 12…. I wonder what roles she was doing then….

  • Annie Nero says:

    She is a lovely person- and I still won’t forget how cruel Zachary Woolfe at the NYTimes was to her- when it was announced she was cancelling Nozze di Figaro, he sent out a tweet announcing it gleefully, which was quite odd for a critic to do before she even had a chance to sing the role… He later deleted the tweet, but the damage was done.

    • AMetFan says:

      From personal experience with Marina, she is absolutely a lovely person. And intelligent and thoughtful to a fault. Whatever happened to her singing career, I truly don’t know, but her desire to have a family was strong. We should all wish Marina well in her married life and motherhood and success in her new career.

    • Rodrigo says:

      What a surprise. Another case of Zachary Woolfe being nasty and mean spirited. Add that to his limited knowledge of classical music and you seriously have to wonder why the NY Times ever hired him.

      • Bruce says:


        At the end of this long article about conductors, leaders, abuse, complicity, etc., he throws in a bit about how he totally missed the point of Alan Gilbert: “It causes me some shame, now, to look back on those years; I think I resisted Mr. Gilbert’s performances, his presence — genial, bookish and curious, and utterly without glamour — because they didn’t meet my sense of what a conductor was supposed to be.” (emphasis mine) From what I could tell, he means that Gilbert wasn’t old and forbidding, didn’t heap abuse on his musicians, and/ or didn’t have a long gray mane and wear a cape. (I may be oversimplifying.)

        On the one hand, I’m glad he recognizes the limitations of his previous point of view; on the other hand, someone writing for the NY Times should have outgrown such ideas in college, if not earlier. I don’t know his age, but as a critic he’s always come across as an adolescent.

      • St. James says:

        That`s pretty much on target–except mean-spiritedness seems to be standard these days for the NYT.

  • Dewey, Cheatum & Howe says:

    Anyone contemplating purchase of NYC property at current prices deserves all that is coming to them. Especially as lately the air is escaping from the bubble, showing that the previous nosebleed levels were unsustainable.

    The average sales price in Manhattan fell below $2 million for the first time in nearly two years. Darling, you will have to redouble your efforts.

  • Alex Davies says:

    I was wondering just the other day what had happened to her. I first heard her when she was a Young Artist at the Royal Opera House and heard her there in a number of roles over the years. I always thought she was most impressive and expected great things from her in the future. She seemed to have the makings of one of the stars of her generation. And then I just never heard any more of her. The story above explains what she’s doing now, but it doesn’t explain why she gave up such a promising career. Perhaps she just wanted a quiet life with a husband and child and a regular job? I know I wouldn’t want to be an international opera star. It sounds like a dream job, but the lifestyle must be awful.

    • Trevor S. says:

      I think you definitely should read that article from New York Times.
      I think she had finally “deserved” the place of her dream. The cruel world of art denied her

      • Dilbert says:

        Was she another Kathleen Battle then? Ya know, got to the point where no-one would work with her? So she “retired”…..

    • Marina Guedouar says:

      Dear friends,
      Come to our open house next Sunday! This is one of a diamond dozen absolutely amazing properties in Manhattan’s most desired households, that if perhaps won’t heal your mentality, but sertainly will afford you a peace of mind and will make your life even more happy and beautiful.
      Hope to help all of you in purchasing the best house that you deserve.
      Ps..ignore the newspapers. You and only you, who are the writers of your own lives. Follow your heart and never compair with what others have or don’t doesn’t fill your soul with love and what is not love- is not real.
      Anyone who wants to have a chat.are welcome to email or to facebook message me. I am deeply grateful for all your so sincere concerns and I appreciate your all kindness.

      • Gerard Delrez says:

        Marina, I always thought you were a star. I’m glad you’re happy in New York and that your new life is as fulfilling as your wonderful singing career.

      • Ligeia says:

        I loved you in Faust, my only opportunity to hear you in person. You were unforgettable. When you were interviewed at intermission for the Live in HD, you were so thoughtful and insightful.


        Just watched the Faust. Very beautiful!

    • St. James says:

      She was just wonderful in Onegin at the ROH, her Letter Aria was about the best I’ve ever heard. In Don Carlo a few years later she was not nearly as effortless. I think Nik’s comment (above) is right on the money.

  • Bruce says:

    That New Yorker article, if anyone’s interested:

  • Rodrigo says:

    She’s not the 1st musician to make such a move. Walter Subke, long time Principal Flute of San Francisco Opera Orchestra also “dropped off the scene” after a rich and successful orchestral career.

    He resurfaced as a successful real estate agent in Arizona. He apparently had an equally successful run as a realtor. He’s now well past 90, healthy, comfortably well off and keeping his chops up playing with local amateur ensembles.

  • Alex Davies says:

    Those questioning her claims of a 28-year career and asking what roles she was singing aged 12 are perhaps unaware that she started out in a children’s opera chorus.

  • Tony Magee says:

    Joanna Simon is another opera diva who left for the world of Real Estate. She is also vice president of the Manhattan based Fox Residential Group, real estate brokers. Post opera career, Simon was also an Emmy Award-winning arts correspondent with the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. Whatever floats your boat.

  • Sharon says:

    She may be eccentric but it was a difficult life and she was under a lot of pressure. Can someone with that personality work in sales? Perhaps now that she is not on the same type of pressure (I assume that her family is not dependent on her commissions) she can be a more tolerant person

    I suppose that the contacts she made at the Met help her with finding customers.

  • Roger Flury says:

    I am so pleased to hear that Marina Poplavskaya is OK. I know little about her stage career, but I do know that she has left us some beautiful performances to enjoy on DVD . I thought she had terrific presence, great musical sensitivity and, of course, a stunning voice. All I can do is wish her well in her new career and thank her for past glories.

  • Mara says:

    She was and always will be very special artist for me. Thanks God, that all is OK! Thank you so much for this information!

  • Rowena Shepard says:

    Loved her Elisabetta a lot, such an amazing journey from a young girl to a mature, dignified queen!

  • Carliroto Horst says:

    Completely crazy! Abandoned la opera per becoming real estate seller? Lunatic! I am sorry for her, and I will cry for her! So sad, so lonely I am! This is the end, la fine, caraho!

  • Leonie Fogle says:

    Ms. Poplavskaya’s performance as Marguerite in the production of “Faust” at the Met surely must be one of the greatest performances ever recorded. Her voice and her interpretation is beautiful and imminently believable. I don’t know whether the part is usually sung by artists with “bigger” voices. I don’t know if she pushed herself, and thereby injured her instrument. I am simply stunned. (And sadly have come to know her only because the MET is kindly streaming productions during our current Coronavirus crisis.Thank you, Mr. Gelb.)

  • Jonfrieda G. says:

    The New Yorker article is a dreadful piece of character assassination by a known misogynist.
    It told us little about her art.
    Marina was a very fine singer, it didn’t work out, she has another life now, so what.

  • Frankster says:

    How would anyone want the life of an opera singer? Most of your life is spent jumping from one to another anonymous hotel room, eating restaurant food, not seeing any family, not raising your children, dealing with ego-driven stage directors who do not even think to ask you about your thoughts. And then there are the critics. You flub a note and it is next morning’s headline. And those opera “connoisseurs” and their constant attacks. Nobody treats you as a normal person deserving the respect anyone else on the street would receive.

  • Claire says:

    Extraordinary performer. Such a pity to lose her from international stages

  • Karen says:

    I’ve just watched a streamed performance of Don Carlo kindly provided by the Met with Marina singing opposite Roberta Alagna. Exquisite performances from both. What a loss to the opera world but fulfilling your personal ambitions is more important than filling our screens.

  • Carlos Gustavo Horst says:

    Bem, eu reencontrei aquele bicho que é a Maria Cristina Rudek. Como eu me interessei por essa véia podre há mais de 25 anos atrás é um mistério. Mas ainda bem que ela me disse que “não estava se oferecendo”. Isso gelou e acabou tudo em poucos segundos. Um zero à esquerda na profissão, uma véia horrenda de feia (e isso antes dos 45 anos!), que bom que nada deu certo entre a gente, Rudek polaca véia! Espero nunca mais te ver outra vez!