Obituary: Metropolitan Opera Singer Mary Ellen Pracht Dies at 87

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano Mary Ellen Pracht has died at the age of 87.

The soprano born in Ohio in 1934 joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1961-1962 season and made her debut as Annina in “La Traviata.” She would go on to sing 35 roles in 314 performances including Mimi in “La Boheme,” the First Lady in “Die Zauberflöte,” Najade in “Ariadne Auf Naxos,” Marzelline in “Fidelio,” Micaela in “Carmen,” Nanneta in “Falstaff,” the Blessed Spirit in “Orfeo ed Eurdice.”

Her most frequent with the company were the Priestess in Verdi’s “Aida,” First Lady in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte,” and Micaëla in Bizet’s “Carmen.” She also sang Octavia in the world premiere of Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. Pracht would remain with the company for 17 seasons until 1977.

Outside her work with the Met, she created the title role in the world premiere of Robert Ward’s “Lady from Colorado” in 1964 at the Central City Festival, and in 1970, she sang at the Carmel Bach Festival.

Pracht was marrierd with Jascha Silbertein, the Metropolitan Opera’s first cellist.