Edita Gruberová, the famed Slovak opera singer whose career began in the late 1960s, died on Oct. 18 in Zurich. She was 74. Gruberová performed on opera stages around the world, including in New York Metropolitan Opera productions.
"Her voice remains in us forever," Slovakia's President Zuzana Čaputová wrote on Facebook, reports the Slovak Spectator. "She used to say that her destiny is to serve the geniuses - Mozart, Bellini, Schubert, and Donizetti. Thank you for Queen of the Night, for Zerbinetta, for Norma." Natália Milanová, Slovakia's culture minister, also paid tribute to Gruberová, noting that she only recently presented the singer with the Minister of Culture Award for her extraordinary career and contributions to Slovak and world culture. "To heaven, where her star will shine forever. Rest in peace," Milanová added.
Gruberová was born on Dec. 23, 1946 in Bratislava, then a part of Czechoslavakia. She began her career in Banská Bystrica and performed at the Vienna State Opera in 1970 during a production of Mozart's The Magic Flute for one of her first performances outside Slovakia. Her success in Vienna led to more roles in important productions, but it wasn't until the soprano earned a major part in a 1976 production of Richard Strais' Ariadne Auf Naos that she began receiving international attention.
Throughout her career, Gruberová received multiple awards in the opera field. She was an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera and received the Austrian title of Österreichischer Kammersänger. In 2013, she was presented with the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize in Germany. In December 2016, Slovakia's then-foreign minister, Miroslav Lajčák, presented her with a Golden Plaque to thank her for representing Slovakia around the world.
Gruberová's final performance came in December 2019. She announced her retirement in September 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic forced her to cancel planned farewell concerts later in the year. "We are very sorry that Mrs. Edita Gruberová finally decided to end her career without a planned farewell in Košice due to coronavirus and travel demands," a spokesman for the Košice State Theater said in November 2020. "She was very much looking forward to her. Unfortunately, the world is different, and in the current situation she has decided to cancel her last planned performance."
Gruberová was married to Štefan Klimo, until their divorce in 1983, and was in a long-term relationship with Friedrich Haider, reports the Washington Post. She is survived by her two daughters, Klaudia Klimo and Barbara Klimo, both of whom live in Zurich, and three grandchildren.