Mar­garet Junt­wait, voice of the New York Met opera broad­casts, dies

The China Post - - ARTS - BY VER­ENA DOBNIK

Mar­garet Junt­wait, an Amer­i­can ra­dio broad­caster whose mel­liflu­ous voice reached more than 8 mil­lion fans world­wide in live Satur­day broad­casts from the Metropoli­tan Opera stage, died Wed­nes­day. She was 58.

Junt­wait died in New York City af­ter a decade- long battle with ovar­ian can­cer, said Met spokesman Sam Neu­man.

Un­til Dec. 31, her last broad­cast, her home stu­dio was nes­tled be­hind the Met’s Fam­ily Cir­cle seats un­der the golden ceil­ing, in a space the size of an av­er­age walk- in closet. A large mon­i­tor beamed in the stage ac­tion, re­placed dur­ing in­ter­mis­sion by pa­trons’ chat­ter and the clang­ing of glasses in the nearby bar.

Since 2004, Junt­wait was the familiar voice of more than 200 broad­casts heard on New York’s WQXR-FM — among 570 sta­tions in the United States plus oth­ers in 39 coun­tries. She also hosted about 900 live broad­casts on the Met’s Sir­ius XM chan­nel, heard three or four times a week dur­ing the opera sea­son. In pre­vi­ous years, she worked at New York’s clas­si­cal ra­dio sta­tion WNYCFM.

“Mar­garet Junt­wait was the soul of the Met’s ra­dio broad- casts,” said Met Gen­eral Manager Peter Gelb. “She will be sorely missed by her lov­ing col­leagues here at the Met, as well as the count­less opera stars who she so deftly in­ter­viewed over the years, and by the mil­lions of de­voted fans who lis­tened to her mel­liflu­ous host­ing of our broad­casts three or four times a week, sea­son af­ter sea­son.”

Be­fore Dec. 31, though di­ag­nosed with ovar­ian can­cer more than a decade ago, she missed only one Satur­day mati­nee broad­cast due to her ill­ness.

Lis­ten­ers will still hear her in Sir­ius broad­casts. Just a few weeks ago, she was in the Met build­ing at Man­hat­tan’s Lin­coln Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts to record con­tent for fu­ture Sir­ius XM broad­casts.

The na­tive of Ridgewood, New Jer­sey, grad­u­ated from the Man­hat­tan School of Mu­sic as a lyric so­prano.

Junt­wait is sur­vived by her hus­band, Jamie Katz; her mother; three sons and a daugh­ter.

AP

This Au­gust 2011 photo pro­vided by the Metropoli­tan Opera shows ra­dio broad­caster Mar­garet Junt­wait in her closet-sized ra­dio booth at the Metropoli­tan Opera in New York.

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