She was a star on the Opera stages of Europe. Composers Franz Lehar, Oscar Straus, and Fritz Kreisler wrote works for her. She then made dozens of films in five languages before she married Polish tenor Jan Kiepura and came to America with him. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N. Y. in 1938.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys here to note that we started the week with a story about Opera stars in films, so we thought we’d end the week with a bit of information about one of the longest Opera/Operetta/Film careers ever.
Marta Eggerth (above), still with us, will be 101 on April 17th.
Although a couple of her European films had been released in the States, it wasn’t until MGM signed her in the early 40s and co-starred her in two of Judy Garland’s films that she became familiar to American audiences.
After her roles in For Me and My Gal and Presenting Lily Mars, Eggerth returned to the stage.
Joe had the pleasure of meeting Marta Eggerth back in the 1980s when she was trying to help her son, Jan Kiepura Jr. launch his singing career. Her other son, Marjan Kiepura, is a concert pianist.
At the time Marta told Joe she had left Hollywood and returned to New York because the separations from her husband were too long. They decided they wanted to work together.
During World War II she and her husband starred on Broadway in a revival of The Merry Widow which ran on Broadway and in touring companies for over 2000 performances.
After the war ended the couple returned to Europe and made several more films. They continued their careers in concert, and although she stopped singing for a few years after Kiepura’s death in 1966, by the 70s she’d returned to acting and singing.
Even in her late 80s she was on stage in London and back in Vienna at the Vienna State Opera. She performed concerts with interviews at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006 at the age of 94. And she has never “officially” retired.
We wish Madame Eggerth the Happiest of Birthdays.