Obituary: American Soprano Roberta Knie Passes Away at 79

Roberta Knie was renowned for her Brünhilde.

American soprano Roberta Knie passed away on March 16, 2017, at the age of 79.

Knie was born on March 13, 1968, and was best known for her work in Wagner’s operas. She made her professional debut in 1964 as Elizabeth in “Tannhäuser” at the Hagen Theater.

Her next major career milestone took place in 1974 when she was asked to step in at last minute as Brünhilde in “Die Walküre” at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Knie stepped up to the challenge and was greeted with tremendous reviews. There is a recording of that cycle which also features Donald McIntyre as Wotan and Jean Cox as Siegfried.

That same year she took on the heroine in Lyon and the Teatro di San Carlo.

The following year Knie would make her U.S. Opera debut in Dallas in the role of Isolde in Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” Debuts at San Francisco and the Metropolitan Opera would follow. Then came even more high-profile debuts in Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin, Chicago, Parma and Montréal among others.

Knie was set to appear in the famed Patrice Chéreau production of Wagner’s Ring, but had a falling out with the director and left the project.

Unfortunately, her career was cut short by illnesses including viral pneumonia, a detached retina, and colon cancer.

***A previous version of this article featured a different image. 

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David Salazar
Prior to creating OperaWire, DAVID SALAZAR, (Editor-in-Chief) worked as a reporter for Latin Post where he interviewed major opera stars including Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Vittorio Grigolo, Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazon among others. His 2014 interview with opera star Kristine Opolais was cited in a New York Times Review. He also had the opportunity of interviewing numerous Oscar nominees, Golden Globe winners and film industry giants such as Guillermo del Toro, Oscar Isaac and John Leguizamo among others. David holds a Masters in Media Management from Fordham University. During his time at Fordham, he studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. He also holds a dual bachelor’s from Hofstra University in Film Production and Journalism.

2 Comments on "Obituary: American Soprano Roberta Knie Passes Away at 79"

  1. F Paul Driscoll | March 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Reply

    The photo you have posted isn’t of Roberta Knie. It is a portrait of Austrian soprano Hilde Gueden (1917–88).

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