Influential Croatian women – The three divas of NY Metropolitan Opera pt.3- Ruža Pospiš Baldani

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 you some of the prominent women in Croatian history in various fields.

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, Zinka Kunc, and Ruža Pospiš Baldani have been the three voices that shaped forms of female opera singing for good. Let’s find out more!

Ruža Pospiš Baldani

After the era of groundbreaking Milka Trnina and her student Zinka Kunc Milanov, a new opera singer emerged all the way to the Metropolitan Opera again and showed once again how much power lies in the voice of these Croatian women.

Ruža Pospiš-Baldani was born on July 24, 1942, in Varaždin. She studied solo singing at the Varaždin Music School and graduated at the Zagreb Academy of Music. Her career in Croatia begins at Zagreb’s National Opera House with the opera “War and Peace” (1961), then “The crowning of Poppea” (1964) at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. As early as 1963 she has already started performing at San Carlo in Naples, then at the Holland Festival, and for the first time in the New York Metropolitan Opera, where she appeared in Rigoletto in 1966.
In MET she continued to engage in as one of the youngest soloists in the history of this prestigious Opera house.
As their number one opera star in the period of early 70-s, she sang a number of roles. Just to name a few: Rigoletto, Parsifal, La Gioconda, Carmen, Aida, Orfeo ed Euridice, Die Walkure, Sigfried…

Her first Spanish Carmen from 1969 was set by the great José Tamayo which was the most sought Carmen performance in the world at that time, especially on the 100th  anniversary of Bizet’s opera in 1975.
The Metropolitan, Covent Garden, Teatro di Zarzuela, and Teatro Real Madrid, as well as opera houses in Vienna, Munich, Turin, One of the fans in awe after her performance in 1972, was nobody less than- the Pope Paul VI. She had a performance in the Vatican that struck everyone in the audience, including the Pope. Talk about a voice, huh?
Ruža Pospiš Baldani continued to travel the world and spread the beauty of opera.

Baldani was included in a special edition of the famous lexicon “Who’s Who In Music” in  1972. After gaining the title of The National Champion in Zagreb Opera, she continued to work as a pedagogue at the Music Academy in Zagreb and also participates in humanitarian events.
Today, she lives quietly in her hometown near Varaždin and is one of the most valuable people in music Croatia has had to this day.

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