DETROIT (AP) — Maria Ewing, a soprano and mezzo-soprano noted for intense performances who became the wife of director Peter Hall and the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, has died at age 71.
Ewing died Sunday (Jan. 9), at her home in Detroit, spokeswoman Bryna Rifkin said Monday.
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 Carmélites” 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 Peter Hall in 1978 when she sang Dorabella in a staging of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” at Britain’s Glyndebourne Festival directed by Hall and led by conductor Bernard Haitink. Ewing married Hall, a founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and then director of Britain’s National Theatre, in 1982.