Fifteen years old, Edita Gruberova is faced with a difficult decision: should she continue with high school, or start training now as a nurse?
The pastor of her hometown of Rača near Bratislava brings a third possibility into the picture. Since she joined confirmation class, he has been captivated by the beauty and clarity of her voice and feels that Edita should become a singer. The girl is unsure at first, but goes ahead with the entrance examination at the conservatory. Not knowing any arias, she passes the exam with a folk song, earning the grade of ‘B.’
At the age of twenty-one she makes her debut as Rosina in Rossini’s Barbiere, and only twenty-three, sings the Queen of the Night at the Vienna State Opera. In the years that follow, she often finds herself on the “supporting role track” at the opera house, until her Zerbinetta brings about her international breakthrough in 1976 – a role in which she remains unsurpassed.
The rest is opera history: to this day, “the Gruberova” is perhaps the only singer in her field whose voice is recognizable after only a few notes. Nikolaus Harnoncourt speaks of an arrow that strikes her listeners’ hearts, giving them the feeling that it couldn’t be performed otherwise.