• 1927 — 1971
Often appears with
Australian soprano Maria Collier was born in Ballarat on April 16, 1926. After a period of study in Melbourne, she made her debut as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and followed that with a tour as Magda in The Consul by Menotti. She went to Milan and then London to further her study. In 1956 she made her Covent Garden debut as Musetta in La Bohème. Covent Garden remained her operatic home until her death. Among her roles there were Marie in Wozzeck, Liu in Turandot, Lisa in The Queen of Spades, Chrysothemis in Elektra, Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Manon Lescaut. In 1962, she created the role of Hecuba in King Priam by Michael Tippett. She was probably best known for her interpretations of the operas of Janacek. She sang the leading soprano roles in Jenufa, The Makropoulos Case, and Katja Kabanova. She also appeared at Sadler's Wells Opera, London in Fanciulla del West, Tannhäuser (Venus) and L'heure espagnole. She sang at both the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Her Metropolitan Opera debut came as Christine in the world premiere of Mourning becomes Electra by Levy; later she also sang Musette and Santuzza. She sang Tosca with the Vienna State Opera in Montréal during the World's Fair. She also sang at Monte Carlo, Bologna, Hamburg and Buenos Aires. Other roles associated with her career were Renata in Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel and Helena in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The voice of Marie Collier was a spinto soprano with a bright edge. She was best known for her dramatic interpretations and willingness to sacrifice the vocal line in the interest of the dramatic situation. Marie Collier was virtually ignored by record companies during her career. Her most important recording is Chrysothemis in Elektra with Nilsson and Resnik on London with Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. Her Gerhilde in Die Walkure under Erich Leinsdorf is also very fine.