Munich (AP) - At 21:42 on Wednesday night, the curtain of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich lowers. The last notes of Gaetano Donizetti's lyrical tragedy "Roberto Devereux" also end the opera career of soprano Edita Gruberova after more than 50 years.

As the curtain rises to the applause, breaks a storm of enthusiasm. Red rose petals trickling down to the 72-year-old, who has just said goodbye to her parade role of Queen Elisabetta. Bouquets fly on stage, the audience claps, stomps and cheers, a good 50 minutes long. "It was wonderful and it was enough," commented Gruberova seized her farewell. "It's like leaving a very big family."

"Edita Gruberova is the prima donna assoluta, the unique, the great diva," enthused state director Nikolaus Bachler. As a farewell, he gives her the queen crown of Elisabetta, which she has recently worn in the production of Christof Loy. Bavaria's Art Minister Bernd Sibler (CSU) even called her a legend.

Gruberova was not born in the cradle that she would be cheered on stage. Born on December 23, 1946 in Bratislava, today Slovakia, she grew up in simple circumstances. The father drank, to the mother she developed a close relationship. Their escape from the often harsh reality: singing, at home, in the school choir and in the Rundfunkkinderchor. "I have always been in the song saved, even my mother liked to sing, from her I got the vote," she said in 2015 in an interview on Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). In a biography she found poetic words: "We have lifted our souls through our singing."

From 1961 to 1968 she studied at the conservatory in Bratislava. Then it went up steeply. At the Wiener Staatsoper she made her debut in 1970 in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte as Queen of the Night. In 1974 she sang in this role for the first time at the Bavarian State Opera. Her international breakthrough in 1976 was the role of Zerbinetta in "Ariadne auf Naxos" by Richard Strauss. Soon she was in high demand, singing in Milan, New York, Madrid or Paris. Especially for them directors highlighted rarely played operas with difficult vocal roles in the program.

The Bavarian and Austrian chamber singer has many nicknames, such as "Queen of Coloratura" or "Eternal High Priestess of Belcanto", as the "Wiener Zeitung" wrote in 2010. Of course, in all the veneration she is not simply called Edita Gruberova, but "the Gruberova". Like "Callas" or "Caballé".

The singer, who lives in the Swiss city of Zurich, does not want to stop singing. They will give concerts and accompany singer as a mentor, it said. She can pass on her passion. Acting also interested them, Gruberova once said. But in the opera, the dimension of the music is added. "That is the Most High, what heaven has given us, what God has given us."

Gruberova's stage farewell

Interview BR Classic