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 WNYC-FM.
“Margaret Juntwait was the soul of the Met’s radio broadcasts,” 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.