The Skylarks (Part 6)

Maria Cebotari (February 10, 1910 - June 9, 1949), famous Romanian opera singer. During her short but brilliant career Maria Cebotari became to be recognized as one of the greatest singers of her time.

Born in Chişinău, (now the capital of Moldova Republic), Bessarabia, Romania, Maria attracted attention by her singing in the local church choir. After attending her home town conservatory, she met Russian actor Count Alexander Vyrubov who managed the Moscow Arts Theatre. He offered her a contract, marriage as well (she divorced him in 1938 and married film actor Gustav Diessl), and they traveled from city to city ending in Berlin where she met Max von Schillings who recommended her to noted singing teacher Oscar Daniel.

After intensive studies, she was signed by Fritz Busch for the Dresden State Opera where she made her debut April 15, 1931 as Mimi in La Bohème. Bruno Walter engaged her for the role of Amor in Gluck's Orpheus and Euridice at the Salzburg Festival. Her career skyrocketed and she was a great favorite at the Berlin and Dresden State Operas. Beside her hugely successful operatic career, Cebotari appeared in several films related to operas - such as Verdi's Three Women, and The Dream of Madame Butterfly. In 1934 she received the title Kammersängerin, a distinction (the highest of its kind existent back then in Austria and Germany) reserved for meritorious singers which had never been, and has never since been, awarded to a 24-year old. In 1936 she sang for the first time with the Vienna State Opera where she became a great favorite. Her busy schedule with leading European opera houses made it impossible for her to accept invitations from America. Cebotari was known for her Mozart and Strauss; in 1935 she sang Aminta in the world premiere of the latter's Die Schweigsame Frau, and also was known for her Salomé. She also sang in the Salzburg world premiere of von Einem's Danton's Death. Aware of her fatal illness, she performed extensively before her untimely death June 9, 1949 when her funeral in Vienna was one of the most imposing demonstrations of love and honor any deceased artist has ever received. Only the good die young...