Ternina, Milka, outstanding Croatian soprano; b. Doljnji, Moslavina, Dec. 19, 1863; d. Zagreb, May 18, 1941. She studied with Ida Winterberg in Zagreb and then with Gansbacher at the Vienna Cons. (1880-82). She made her operatic debut as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera in Zagreb (1882); then sang in Leipzig (1883-84), Graz (1884-86), and Bremen (1886-89). In 1889 she appeared as a guest artist at the Hamburg Opera, joining its roster in 1890; also was a member of the Munich Court Opera (1890-99), where she distinguished herself as a Wagnerian singer. She was engaged by Walter Damrosch for his German Opera Co. in N.Y., and made her American debut as Elsa in Lohengrin in Boston on March 4, 1896; also appeared at Covent Garden, London, as Isolde (June 3, 1898); after a series of successes at the Bayreuth Festivals (1899), she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Elisabeth on Jan. 27, 1900, and sang there until 1904 (1902-03 season excepted); she sang Tosca at the American premiere (Feb. 4, 1901) and Kundry in Parsifal (Dec. 24, 1903). She made her farewell stage appearance as Sieglinde in Munich on Aug. 19, 1906. In subsequent years, she was active as a teacher, giving instruction at the Inst. of Musical Art in N.Y. and later in Zagreb, where she was the mentor of Zinka Milanov. She was renowned for her portrayals of Isolde and Beethoven’s Leonore.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire