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1 (Bernstein: West Side Story). Sop. Sister of gang-leader Bernado, she falls in love with Tony from a rival gang. Tony mistakenly hears she is dead and allows himself to be killed. Maria intervenes to prevent further bloodshed due to gang rivalry. Arias: I feel pretty; Somewhere; duets (with Tony): Tonight; One hand, one heart. Created (1957) by Carol Lawrence.

2 (Gershwin: Porgy and Bess). Cont. A shopkeeper on Catfish Row. She discourages Sportin’ Life from peddling dope. Created (1935) by Georgette Harvey.

3 (Verdi: Simon Boccanegra). See Grimaldi, Amelia.

4 (Strauss: Friedenstag). Wife of the Commandant, whose country is under siege in the Thirty Years War. The people are starving and the army is near to collapse. Her husband is determined to hold out, and is prepared to blow up the Citadel and forfeit their lives rather than surrender. Maria, younger than he and very much in love, tells him how happy he has made her. She refuses to leave him—if he is to die, then so shall she. As bells ring out to signify peace, the enemy army marches to the Citadel, led by the Holsteiner. Her husband presumes they have come to fight and draws his sword, but Maria throws herself between the two men. There has been enough fighting, now is the time for friendship and peace, she tells them, and the two men embrace. Arias: Wie? Niemand hier? (‘What? No one here?’); Geliebter, nicht das Schwert! (‘My love, not the sword!’). Created (1938) by Viorica Ursuleac.

Subjects: Opera.

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