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Maria Jeritza
Birth: Oct. 6, 1887
Brno, Czech Republic
Death: Jul. 10, 1982
Orange
Essex County
New Jersey, USA

Opera Singer. A premiere soprano of the early 20th. century, her exuberant style and difficult temperment gave her the nickname "The Moravian Thunderbolt". Born Mimi Jedlitzkova, she was raised in the Czech city of Brno in what was then Austria-Hungary, studied at the local conservatory from around 14, and overcame early stage fright to sing in the chorus at the local Municipal Theatre until her high-notes, good looks, and commanding presence made an impression. Her 'offical' debut came in 1910 at Olomouc as Elsa in Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin"; soon heard by Emperor Franz Joseph she was signed by the Imperial Opera in Vienna where she was to be a mainstay until 1935. Over her career she performed around 70 principal roles at the leading opera houses of Europe and North America in German, Italian, French, English and Czech. Able to sing works ranging from light operetta to the heaviest Wagner she was called upon for several world premieres including Blanchefleur in Wilhelm Kienzl's "Der Kuhreigen" in Vienna on November 23, 1911, Ariadne from Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" at Stuttgart on October 25, 1912 (with Strauss on the podium), the Empress of the same composer's "Die Frau ohne Schatten" in Vienna on October 10,1919, and Marie/Marietta in Erich Korngold's "Die tote Stadt" at Hamburg on December 4,1920. Making her bow at New York's Metropolitan Opera on November 19, 1921, with "Die tote Stadt", she became the first to sing the soprano leads from a number of significant works there including Leos Janacek's "Jenufa" (1924), Korngold's "Violanta" (1927), and Franz von Suppe's "Boccaccio" (1931), as well as Strauss' "The Egyptian Helen", and "Salome". Madame Jeritza was particularly noted for the title roles of Jules Massenet's "Thais", Giacomo Puccini's "Turandot", and Georges Bizet's "Carmen", though her signature piece was the title heroine of Puccini's "Tosca". Always an artist who did things her own way she would not, despite the important point in the story-line that Tosca is dark haired, deign to wear a black wig as other blonde sopranos have done. Her trademark prone-position "Vissi d'arte" in act II, which has been copied with varied success, was the result of an accidental fall at a dress rehersal that Maestro Puccini saw, liked, and insisted she continue. Among her other praised characterizations thru the years were the title leads of Ponchielli's "La Gioconda" and Umberto Giordano's "Fedora", Octavian in Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier", Sieglinde in Wagner's "Ring Cycle", Santuzza from Mascagni's "Cavallaria Rusticana", and Minnie in Puccini's American-themed "The Girl of the Golden West"; after leaving the Metropolitan in 1932, she appeared in several movies, was instrumental in saving a number of Moravian Jews and was named Grand Dame de la Croix du Saint Sepulcre by Pope Pius XII during World War II, and following the conflict helped raise money to repair the damaged Vienna State Opera House and the Cathedral of Prague. Madame Jeritza married for the third and last time in 1948 and retired to Newark, New Jersey, where she lived out her days and is buried in the Bergen County family plot of her husband Irving Seery. Never comfortable, or by her own estimation very good, in the studio she nevertheless created a significant recorded legacy which has remained continually in print and is available on CD. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Irving P. Seery (____ - 1966)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Holy Cross Cemetery
North Arlington
Bergen County
New Jersey, USA
Plot: Seery family plot, Section 5, Row H, Grave 101
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Apr 17, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9134
Maria Jeritza
Added by: Rudi Polt
 
Maria Jeritza
Added by: Rudi Polt
 
Maria Jeritza
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
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- Tom A. Hawk
 Added: Oct. 6, 2014
GOD Bless you and all which do and/or the ones which may come here to view too!
- Jonathan Robert De Mallie
 Added: Jul. 21, 2014

- Bob Hufford
 Added: Oct. 6, 2013
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