Maria Ewing

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Maria Louise Ewing (born March 27, 1950) is an American opera singer who has sung both soprano and mezzo-soprano roles. She is noted as much for her acting as her singing.

Early life and education[edit]

Maria Ewing in 1968

Maria Louise Ewing was born in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. the youngest of four daughters.[1][2] Her mother, Hermina M. (née Veraar), was Dutch and her father, Norman I. Ewing, was an American of African American, native American and Scottish ancestry.[1][3][4][5][6] She graduated from Detroit's Finney High School in 1968.[2] Ewing later studied in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City.


Ewing made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976 in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Her first European performance was at La Scala, Milan as Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Her repertoire includes Carmen, Dorabella in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Salome, the title role in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Marie in Berg's Wozzeck and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Ewing is particularly well known for her sensitive interpretation of the title role in Richard Strauss's Salome, where Oscar Wilde's stage directions for the original play specify that, at the end of the so-called Dance of the Seven Veils, Salome lies naked at Herod's feet. Ewing appeared fully nude at the end of this sequence, in contrast to other singers who have used body stockings.[7][8] She also sang and appeared in Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.

Ewing's discography includes video versions of Salome, L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Carmen and audio versions of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Pelléas et Mélisande. She has also recorded concert music by Ravel, Berlioz and Debussy and programs of popular American song. She played Rosina in a Glyndebourne production of Il barbiere di Siviglia (1982), available on DVD.

Ewing has also sung jazz in live performance, including appearances with the band Kymaera at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.

Personal life[edit]

In 1982, she married the English theatre director Sir Peter Hall, and during this period of her life was formally styled "Lady Hall". The couple divorced in 1990. Their daughter is the actress Rebecca Hall. As of 2003, she lived in Sussex, England.[9]


  1. ^ a b Current biography yearbook, Volume 51. H. W. Wilson Co. 1990. p. 227. ISBN.
  2. ^ a b "68 Cairngorm "Maria Louise Ewing" (Finney Jr. Sr. High School, Detroit)". Generations Network. 1968. p. 30. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  3. ^ Isenberg, Barbara (1992-11-08). "MUSIC No-Risk Opera? Not Even Close Maria Ewing, one of the most celebrated sopranos in opera, leaps again into the role of Tosca, keeping alive her streak of acclaimed performances while remaining true to herself". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-02-06.; also archived here
  4. ^ McLellan, Joseph (1990-11-15). "Article: Extra-Sensuous Perception; Soprano Maria Ewing, a Steamy 'Salome'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  5. ^ Marsh, Robert C. (1988-12-18). "Article: Growth of Maria Ewing continues with `Salome' // Role of princess proves crowning achievement". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  6. ^ The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. 2003. pp. 508. ISBN 1-85743-217-7.
  7. ^ John Rockwell (1989-04-20). "Review/Opera; Maria Ewing in Strauss's 'Salome' in Los Angeles". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  8. ^ Anthony Holden (2008-02-24). "Don't go and lose your head..." The Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  9. ^ Jeal, Erica (March 11, 2003). "'I feel I belong'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 14, 2008.

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