Maralin Niska, one of the great singing-actresses of the 20th century, has passed away. Maralin's performances at New York City Opera and The Met during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s were among the outstanding experiences in my opera-going career. From Emilia Marty to Mimi, from Yaroslavna to Marguerite, she could bring any operatic character to life thru the chiaroscuro vividness of her singing and her uncanny connections with the characters she was portraying.
This article describes, rather feebly I'm afraid, the impact Maralin's performances had on me.
Following her retirement from the stage, Maralin and her husband William Mullen moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Maralin taught and Bill presided over a chamber music series. We kept in touch, and she loved sending out photos of her big, lovely dogs. In the last couple of years, Maralin's health declined significantly; what a blessing that Bill was there to care for her.
I have saved all the Playbills from her performances, and all the notes and cards she sent me over the years. Her unusual and distinctive voice will stay with me always.