Obituary: American Soprano Roberta Knie Passes Away at 79

By David Salazar

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.