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Maria Ewing: the singer’s best recordings

The late Maria Ewing was known for singing both soprano and mezzo roles throughout her illustrious career. Here, we name the best recordings of Ewing's performances

Maria Ewing poses for a photographer in her costume as Melisande. She performs in the opera Pelleas et Melisande. Composer: Claude Debussy.   (Photo by Ira Nowinski/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The best recordings of Maria Ewing

Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

Vienna Philharmonic/Claudio Abbado
DG 435 3442


There is a certain grit to Maria Ewing’s representation of Mélisande in this performance, with the character given new meaning through Ewing’s interpretation and nuances. She sings the role alongside François Le Roux as Pelléas, whose performance is considered and refined.


Strauss’s Salome

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Edward Downes
Opus Arte OAR3108D

Directed by Ewing’s husband Peter Hall, it was this production of Salome that first launched the American soprano onto the British stage. She gave one of the most notorious performances of Strauss’s infamous ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, performing it in the nude. Hall’s staging showed Ewing at her most elegant and glamorous.

This film is available to watch on Medici TV.


Mozart’s Requiem

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
DG 00044007341353

Singing the mezzo-soprano role alongside soprano Marie Mclaughlin here, Ewing balances her tone superbly in this traditional reading of Mozart’s Requiem

This is also available in DVD format, in a TV special directed by Humphrey Burton.


Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

London Philharmonic Orchestra & Ambrosian Opera Chorus/Mstislav Rostropovich
Warner Classics 9668382

Maria Ewing plays the role of Katerina in this historic recording with Galina Vishnevskaya in the title role. Ewing’s acting capabilities are on full display here in this hugely expressive performance.