Obituary: Soprano Danica Mastilovic Dies at 89

By Francisco Salazar

On July 15, 2023, Soprano Danica Mastilovic died at the age of 89.

Her family stated that the soprano died after a long and serious illness in Dreieich-Sprendlingen, near Frankfurt / Germany.

Born in Yugoslavia, she studied at the Music Academy in Belgrade before being engaged by Georg Solti to join Oper Frankfurt. She was discovered by Wolfgang Rennert in Belgrade and auditioned for Oper Frankfurt where she was accepted to become an ensemble for three years under Intendant Harry Buckwitz.

She made her debut in the title role of “Tosca” with the company in 1959 and went on to perform with the company for 40 years. She became a Kammersängerin at Oper Frankfurt in 1983 and ended her career as a Member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt during the 1998-99 season in the role of the Amme in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.”

Mastilovic worked with Austrian coach Hans Hasel to help her learn new roles.

Throughout her career, she went on to perform all important roles in the youthful-dramatic fach from Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello” to “Aida.”

In 1960, she made her first guest appearance as Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper, and went on to sing Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio” and Abigaille in Verdi’s “Nabucco” in Chicago, Zurich, Verona, and Buenos Aires.

She also performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Teatro alla Scala, and the opera houses in Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin. She also sang Puccini’s “Turandot” in no fewer than 28 opera houses around the world.

Under Christoph von Dohnányi she moved to the high, dramatic fach, singing roles including the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss‘ “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” Wagner’s Ortrud in “Lohengrin,” Senta in “Der Fliegende Holländer,” Kundry in “Parsifal,” Isolde in “Tristan und Isolde” and Brünnhilde in “Der Ring des Nibelungen.”

Mastilovic’s most important role was undoubtedly Strauss’ “Elektra,” in which she performed more than 200 performances at such houses as the Metropolitan Opera.