Singers lead the mourning for Edita Gruberova

Singers lead the mourning for Edita Gruberova


norman lebrecht

October 18, 2021

Tributes are being posted for the great soprano who has died, aged 74.

Elina Garanca: It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing away of the great Slovak coloratura soprano Edita Gruberova. I am heartbroken that the world has lost another legendary singer and I am grateful for being able to stand on her side and will treasure all the memories forever.

Laura Aikin: Heartbroken at the news of the passing of Edita Gruberova. Role model for generations of coloraturas, myself included. A full life, well lived, but yet too short. May she Rest In Peace. She will be remembered with gratitude and admiration by millions.

Claire Rutter: One of the most beautiful sounds ever – such a natural, easy, unforced talent. Her impeccable technique meant she could be confident in everything she sang. A voice in a million.

Gerald Martin Moore: She was one of the most phenomenal vocal technicians I ever heard sing in the theatre and a huge inspiration in terms of technique. Hearing her being able to “mark” Zerbinetta at pitch at 10am (including an extended trill on a high D) blew my mind as a 20 year old. Also her superhuman breath control was astonishing, as was her ability to execute perfect messa di voce all the way up to a high F sharp. To hear her at her best I would suggest the concert in Munich from 1983 on youtube but here is a brief excerpt from a live Lucia for those younger singers who may not know her. Hers was also a voice that sounded better in live acoustic as her laser beam focus could sound harder when caught by the microphone.

Aprile Millo: Very sorry to hear of the passing of Edita Gruberova. Wonderful singing and the world mourns today but remembers always her great art. Pax Perpetua.

Lowell Liebermann:  I will never forget when I was 20 or so, I heard her as Zerbinetta at the Bayerische Staatsoper. The performance stopped for a 15-minute screaming ovation after her big aria. It was utter perfection, both singing and acting.

Dorothea Herbert: What a tragic year losing two of my life long idols. First Christa Ludwig and now Edita Gruberova. She has been my inspiration since I wanted to become a singer.

Hui He: I’m really sad to read about the passing of the legendary Edita Gruberova🙏🏻 She is a model for all us artists, for her passion, her respect and devotion to music and opera.

Decca Classics: Absolutely devastated to hear that the coloratura soprano Edita Gruberová has passeed away at the age of 74. Her legacy remains as one of the great singers and musicians of the 20th and 21st century. She will be missed.

Dominique Meyer, sovrintendente at La Scala: Ce soir là, Édita était heureuse. Nous avions fêté ses quarante cinq années de présence au Staatsoper, où elle avait commencé sa carrière au sein de la troupe. Elle est toujours restée fidèle à ce théâtre, où elle a chanté plus de 700 représentations, la toute dernière,Anna Bolena, le 23 octobre 2015. Elle se retira définitivement à l’occasion d’un gala donné le 23 juin 2018. C’è soir-la, je lui avais offert son mythique costume de Zerbinetta. Les viennois se souvenaient qu’ ils l’avaient applaudie plus d’une demi-heure après le grand air „ Grossmächtige Prinzessin „ lors de la Premiere du 20 novembre 1976. Elle était une légende vivante. Aucun de ceux qui aiment vraiment l‘opéra ne l’oubliera.

Serge Dorny:Mit großer Trauer haben wir an der Bayerischen Staatsoper vom Tod der unvergleichlichen Edita Gruberová erfahren. Hier am Haus hatten wir das Privileg, ihre großen Rollen und ihre Erfolge mitzuerleben und zu feiern. Ein schmerzlicher Verlust für uns alle!

Conductor Speranza Scapucci: …a very sad day for the world . We have lost an incredible artist and woman.

Andrei Comploi: Distressed and very, very sad that Edita Gruberova left us so suddenly.

Not only was I lucky enough to experience her often on stage, but I also got to know her personally and work with her. I adored her – and I think she liked me. So many experiences, including one or the other challenge with her. But what will remain in special memory besides her glorious performances – an unforgettable Zerbinetta – is her humble, kind, generous, humorous-ironic and above all cordial off-limelight persona.



  • Simon Scott says:

    A few years ago I read that Edita Gruberova had quit singing in Italy on the pretext that she was tired of ‘singing to penguins’. “they don’t even known when to applaud”.
    Nevertheless, a great voice is now silenced with her passing. Her vocal technique bordered on superhuman.

  • Sean says:

    One of the greats. R.I.P.

  • AndrewB says:

    I will always carry in my mind the image of Edita as Maria Stuarda laughing at Elizabeth the first after calling her ‘ vile bastarda’ in Donizetti’s opera. She was an amazing singer in many ways . She had a unique voice , not to be confused with any other soprano.
    Her technique was both impressive and highly individual . She had her detractors, but with such an individual approach that is bound to happen.
    There was also her complete dedication to both music and character.
    She ‘delivered the goods’ to her public and rarely cancelled.
    She had such a sense of fun.
    After all that she gave in her long career I am saddened that she didn’t get to enjoy a longer retirement. She earned her place among the finest singers and maintained it. RIP dear Edita Gruberova.

    • Ernest says:

      Her pairing with Baltsa was always fabulous – Stuarda, Capuleti, Ariadne … So sad that she left us so soon. RIP Regina!

  • BigSir says:

    I have a movie of Rigoletto with her as Gilda. Great voice on it. Pavarotti is unbelievable; he is the Duke!

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    The only time I heard her live was as Zerbinetta in the ROH 1986-7 season. Utterly phenomenal. I’ll never forget how she dispatched the trilled A, rising via C# to top E and descending to A via an A7 arpeggio, just before the final rondo section. She attacked the trill mezzoforte before diminuendoing up to the E and down to the A, as if it were just an insouciant little chuckle. All this at quaver = 116/120. Impossible to forget once you’ve heard the impossible.

    On a side note, a singer friend, formerly in the Vienna ensemble, found herself at a canteen table with Edita and another legendary soprano whose name escapes me. They asked my friend what she had coming up, to which she mentioned a sizeable mezzo role she’d be premiering in in a couple of weeks. The conversation eventually turned to something else, they all parted company and that was that. On premiere night, my mezzo friend arrived at her dressing room to find an enormous bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne from Edita and her colleague, wishing her toitoitoi for her debut. Classy.

  • Peter says:

    I first heard her on an 1982 Angel/EMI LP of French and Italian opera arias, and her “Bell Song” from Lakme made me a lifelong fan.