Maria Jeritza (October 6, 1887 – July 10, 1982), born Marie Jedličková, was a celebrated Moravian soprano singer, long associated with the Vienna State Opera (1912–1935) and the Metropolitan Opera (1921-1932 and 1951). Her sensational rise to fame and spectacular beauty and personality earned her the nickname The Moravian Thunderbolt.

Jeritza was born in Brno. In 1910, she made her debut as Elsa, in Wagner's Lohengrin, at Olomouc. The Emperor Franz Josef heard her and immediately commanded that she be offered a contract at the Imperial Hofoper, Vienna. She created the roles of Blanchefleur in Kienzl's opera Der Kuhreigen (1911), Ariadne in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (1912), the Empress in his Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), and Marie/Marietta in Korngold's Die tote Stadt (1920), the latter also being the role of her debut with the Metropolitan Opera on November 19, 1921.

On November 16, 1926, she starred in the title role of Puccini's Turandot in its North American premiere at the Metropolitan, where she also created the title or leading soprano roles in Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (1924), Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's I gioielli della Madonna (1925), Korngold's Violanta (1927), Richard Strauss' Die Ägyptische Helena (1928), and Franz von Suppé's Boccaccio (1931) and Donna Juanita (1932.) Her popularity at the Metropolitan was, as in Vienna, immense, especially as Tosca, Carmen and Massenet's Thaïs.

After a short, only two-year marriage to Mr. Wiener, Jeritza's second husband was an Austrian Baron, Friedrich Leopold Salvator Freiherr Popper von Podhragy (1886-1953). Her next husband, the third one, was (1935) a Hollywood mogul Winfield R. Sheehan, who died in 1945. In 1948 she married New Jersey businessman Irving Seery and moved to a mansion located in the Forest Hill neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey where she made her home until her death in 1982, at age 94. She died in Orange, New Jersey, and is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, New Jersey in North Arlington, New Jersey.

Jeritza made a number of 78-rpm recordings which testify to the high quality of her voice. Many of these recordings have been released on CD.

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Maria Jeritza Poems

Maria Jeritza Quotes

The real exertion in the case of an opera singer lies not so much in her singing as in her acting of a role, for nearly every modern opera makes great dramatic and physical demands.
Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), Austrian opera singer. Sunlight and Song, ch. 13 (1924).
My chance, when it came, was due, literally, to the fact that I was slender.... You cannot make an opera audience believe that a man will endanger his soul, and commit robbery and murder for a very stout lady's sake.
Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), Austrian opera singer. Sunlight and Song, ch. 21 (1924). Explaining why she was selected to sing the role of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love.
It is hard to describe the thrill of creative joy which the artist feels when the conviction seizes her that at last she has caught the very soul of the character she wishes to portray, in the music and action which reveal it.
Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), Austrian opera singer. Sunlight and Song, ch. 21 (1924).

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