Maria Ewing, the American opera singer who was well known for her intense performances on stage, has died at the age of 71.
She died on Sunday January 9, at her home in the US city of Detroit, her spokeswoman Bryna Rifkin said.
Ewing, who became the wife of director Sir Peter Hall and the mother of actress Rebecca Hall, was born in Detroit to a Dutch mother and an African American father, Ewing was the youngest of four daughters.
“She was an extraordinarily gifted artist who by the sheer force of her talent and will catapulted herself to the most rarefied heights of the international opera world,” her family said in a statement.
Ewing made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1976 in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) and starred as Blanche de la Force in a new John Dexter production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites in 1977.
She sang 96 Met performances until her finale as Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck in 1997, a span that included a six-year interruption triggered by a spat with Met artistic director James Levine.
Ewing met Sir Peter Hall in 1978 when she sang Dorabella in a staging of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte at Glyndebourne Festival, directed by Sir Peter and led by conductor Bernard Haitink.
She married Sir Peter, a founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and then director of the National Theatre, in 1982. Four years later, her husband directed her at the Met where she sang the title role in a new staging of Bizert’s Carmen.
Sir Peter also directed Ewing in Nozze in Chicago in 1987.
The couple got divorced in 1990 and Sir Peter died in 2017 at the age of 87.
Their daughter Rebecca Hall, born in 1982, has starred in films including Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon and horror movie The Awakening. She also starred in last year’s blockbuster monster movie Godzilla Vs Kong.