She is the honorary citizen of the Franzstadt (9th district of Budapest). Not only because of she has enhanced her district‘s reputation as a celebrated star of the Scala in Milano, the Metropolitan in New York and other great opera stages, but because of her wholehearted and selfless help, too. It was natural for You that You appeared in the benefit concert for the Children’s Clinic of the Tűzoltó Street.
- What kind of childhood did You have?
- It was good. To be a child is always good. The whole Bakáts Street and Gálya Street were ours. We slid in the slope before the church of Bakáts Square through the entire winter. The entire environs were our empire, with the all arcades, where we played number battle. The life was more peaceful; we weren’t worried about car accidents. I had a very happy childhood. Certain things were wanting, but I didn’t realize it. We moved from the 2/B Bakáts Street in 1958. I remember, my mother very sad when we left the district, she longed to be back here, she missed the Danube-bank very much. For us, who were children, there weren’t so big differences.
- Did You go to school in Franzstadt?
- I went to the primary schools of Knézich Street and the 4/C Lónyai Street. Then I went to the Ferenc Móra Grammar School of Zsil Street. I chose a secondary school where I could study the humanities – I wasn’t interested in mathematics – and it was near to my home. This was natural at that time. Later my approach has changed. I trained myself to the permanent dislocation, to the fending for myself and to the conformance to everything. The world is changing. Only few people can die in their place of birth.
- Did You often go to the opera as a child?
- I didn’t see any performances neither in theater, nor in opera. My parents weren’t interested in that. We had only a Philips radio and we could listen to only operettas. In the Boráros Square the library was in the same place than now. I got my parents to join, too. Every week I took home nine books for three persons in my mother’s shopping bag. When the librarian asked me for whom I took the books, I told that mainly for me, although my parents like reading, too. After this talking I was controlled what I took home.
- Did You start Your musical studies in the district, too?
- In the 19 Mester Street I had a nice singing teacher, Magda Raksányi, who graduated in the Music Academy. She was very fat because of her illness; she couldn’t make her way as an opera singer. She started to teach. She discovered I have a crystal clear voice with three octave range. She suggested me that I should learn to play piano. We didn’t have piano at home, so I couldn’t practice there. Thereupon she sent me to the gym, where there was a piano. The headmistress of the music school was Kató Bíró, one of the last students of Béla Bartók. I visited her long after the opening ceremony. I could be very pushy, because she admitted me for piano and forsolfège. Beside my musical studies every year we performed a children’s opera, in which I usually sang trouser roles. I was the highest and the slimmest child. I practiced piano in the old pianino of the school in the afternoons. Later, in 1956 I got a Hamburger piano from my mother. How she could buy it, I can’t imagine, because it cost 15.000 Ft. My father’s salary was 1.500 Ft. I remember my mother didn’t buy any greatcoat through some years.
- Were You studying consciously to be an opera singer?
- Certainly! I loved very much to play and to sing. I didn’t require twice telling to sing: when I was asked, I sang. During my adolescence my voice breaking was bigger than the boys have. Moreover, when I planned to go to the Music Academy, the highness and the depth of my voice totally went off. I could sing only in one octave. In the first year I wasn’t admitted to the Music Academy because of my childlike voice.
I had many superfluous energies and I went to play volleyball in the BKV Előre sport group. I started to sport seriously, because I had to strengthen to the singing. I reached that I could play in the Hungarian Junior National Team of Volleyball. Because I played volleyball for a club, I got an office job for eight months.
In the next year Endre Rösler admitted me to the Music Academy. He formed me both humanly and musically. It was thanks to him that I could reduce the preparatory classes. By this time as a student I often went to opera performances and to concerts of the Music Academy. After Endre Rösler’s death my professor became Dr. Jenő Sipos, from whom I learn very much. During my studies I got married and our son was born. Despite I graduated with excellent results, the Hungarian State Opera didn’t engaged me. Fortunately, I received a ministerial scholarship, so I got into the house. It’s a characteristic of my entire life that unknown persons attracted the attention of me and they helped me. My parents didn’t have any possibility for this because of the everyday problems. So, I have learnt the great importance of paying attention to the others from this. If I hadn’t got musical education, I wouldn’t have become an opera singer. I would like to reciprocate these supports with teaching, with master classes and – occasionally – with benefit concerts.
Eva Marton is an opera singer, a dramatic soprano. From 1968 to 1972 she was a member of the Hungarian State Opera (Budapest), then she got an engagement in Frankfurt and – from 1977 – in the Hamburg. Her world career started during her Frankfurt period. As a guest artist appeared in Wien and in the Maggio Musicale in Firenze. She made her debut as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in 1976 in the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Her first appearance in Bayreuth was in 1977 as Tannhäuser’s Elisabeth and Venus. She has sung more than 60 roles in original languages. She is excellent both in Verdi-, Puccini-, Richard Strauss- and Wagner-roles. Her most significant roles: Tosca, Turandot, Brünnhilde, Elsa, Ortrud, Elektra, Salome, the Empress, the Dyer’s Wife, Judith, the three Leonora (Fidelio, Il trovatore, La forza del destino), Gertrudis, Gioconda, Fedora, Kostelnička.
Orsolya Dobrovits – István Sziklai
(Ferencváros /Franzstadt/. Vol. XIII., No. 11., 2003 November. p.13)