Influential Croatian women
Croatia has a long and steady history of many classical artists of all kinds contributing to the world of art. Composers, painters, sculptors, and writers. Most of them you will hear of are men of big careers and of big reputation who co-created the culture and art we witness and study about to this day.
But in a long line of influential men, Croatia has always had even more astonishing women who had to work extra hard and still managed to make worldwide careers and recognizable names all by themselves which paved a way for women in Croatia today to hold some of the highest positions in the country, such as our President and former Prime Minister as well.
In this short series of posts named simply “Influential Croatian Women”, we will present to you some of the prominent women in Croatian history in various fields. The three divas The Metropolitan Opera pt.1-
The three divas The Metropolitan Opera pt.1
In this post in three parts, we’ll present you three divas that have been enchanting the stage of Metropolitan Opera during the whole 20th century. Milka Trnina, Ruža Pospiš Baldani, and Zinka Kunc have been the three voices that shaped forms of female opera singing for good (and one of them was the inspiration for the world’s most famous chocolate!). Let’s find out more!
First in a row is Milka Trnina, the pioneer of opera in Croatia, especially in international terms.
In a small Moslavina settlement, near Ivanić-Grad, Vezišće, on December 19, 1863, one of the world’s most famous opera singers, Milka Trnina was born. She lost her parents at a very young age, but luckily she had relatives who took good care of her while growing up. She was only thirteen when a private singing coach Ida Wimberger discovered the unusual beauty of Milka’s singing voice. She was only thirteen when she had her first performance in National Theatre in 1879 and immediately drew all the attention to her, including the legendary author of that time, August Šenoa, who advocated for her to study singing at one of Vienna’s best singing schools. And the rest is pure history…….
Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini considered her the best performer of his Tosca opera all over the world. She has performed throughout Europe and America, including London, New York, and Bayreuth, the center of Wagner’s music.
Milka Trnina was a Wagnerian singer, and she interpreted Beethoven and Mozart’s characters very well. Her contemporaries thought she embodied Wagner’s heroine just the way Wagner wanted it to be.
Milka Trnina was one of the few artists who had earned a deserved acknowledgment in her homeland. When she performed in Zagreb in 1898, he had an incredible celebration, and his fans rushed to the hotel. She was a real diva.
Unfortunately, she had problems with the inflammation of the facial nerve, so she decided to retire before the quality of her performance dropped. Last time she performed was in 1906 in Walkiri. The money from Milka’s farewell performance was donated to the Plitvice Lakes Party. In a sign of gratitude, the Society has named one of the most beautiful Plitvice waterfalls after Milka Trnina. After that occasion, she only sang for charity. She chose the rest of her life to travel, train, and organize charitable actions. She became an honorary member of the Academy of Music, head of the solo singing department and member of the commission.
An interesting story is the name of Milka chocolates! Namely, chocolate maker Carl Russ-Suchard was a great fan of Milka Trnina, so he asked her to call the chocolate after his favorite singer!
Milka Trnina died of pneumonia in 1941. According to her wishes, the funeral was held in the morning, with no accompaniment and with the sound of the Croatian anthem, and money for flowers and wreaths was paid for charity.