Obituary: Mezzo-Soprano Jean Kraft Passes at 94

By David Salazar
(Credit: Douglas Merriam)

American mezzo-soprano Jean Kraft passed away on July 15, 2021. She was 94.

Kraft was born on Jan. 9, 1927 in Menasha, Wisconsin, United States and began her singing career at the New York City Opera in the 1960s. She then went on to take on a partnership with the Santa Fe Opera between 1965 through 1987 where she performed such operas as “La Cenerentola,” “Rigoletto,” “Der Rosenkavalier,” “The Rake’s Progress,” and “The Magic Flute,” among others. 

She was also a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera where she gave 800 performances between 1970-1989 with her debut coming as Flora in “La Traviata.”Opera News stated in 2005 that she was “a gifted mezzo and observant, imaginative actress who lent distinction to a wide range of character roles.”

She also performed with such companies. as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, New Orleans Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Vienna State Opera where she took on Bernstein’s “A Quiet Place.”

She was also dedicated to concert stage where she worked with such organizations as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic.

She retired from the stage in 1990 and dedicated herself to teaching in Santa Fe.

Check out this recital starring Kraft.