Margaret Juntwait (March 18, 1957 – June 3, 2015) was an American radio broadcaster, and the voice of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. After 13 years on the air at WNYC-Radio, she debuted as the Met's radio announcer on December 11, 2004. She was also the Met's first announcer on Sirius-XM satellite radio from 2006 and remained in both jobs until she died from cancer in 2015.
Life and career
Raised in Ridgewood and Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Juntwait attended Northern Highlands Regional High School, where she first developed an interest in choral music. Later, she studied to be an opera singer — she was a lyric soprano — and received a degree in voice from the Manhattan School of Music in 1980. After marrying, she resigned from pursuing an operatic career for the sake of raising her three children. In 1991, she began her career as a classical music radio announcer at WNYC-FM radio in New York City.
Juntwait began at the Metropolitan Opera in 2000 as the back-up announcer for radio host Peter Allen who retired from the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts in May 2004. With the 2004-2005 broadcast season, she took to the air on her own, introducing a performance of Verdi's I Vespri Sicilani. She became only the fourth person ever to announce the broadcasts, following Milton Cross, Allen, and Lloyd Moss (who substituted just twice).
On September 20, 2006, the Met announced that Juntwait would become a full-time Met employee, having been appointed as announcer of all programs on Sirius Satellite Radio's new Metropolitan Opera Radio channel. On Sirius, Juntwait hosted three or four live broadcasts a week during the opera season, and recorded introductions for hundreds of archive performances aired on the channel.
Juntwait also performed in radio theater plays produced by NPR veteran Joe Bevilacqua, including The Whithering of Willoughby and the Professor. In episode 16, Juntwait essays three roles in a parody of the British show The Prisoner from the 1960s. In episode 17, Juntwait portrays Willoughby's mother, a mermaid and god. The plays aired on "The Comedy-O-Rama Hour", heard on XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel.
Juntwait died on June 3, 2015 of ovarian cancer, aged 58. According to a memorial published on the Metropolitan Opera website, Juntwait had been diagnosed with cancer over ten years prior to her death, but continued working with the Metropolitan Opera, missing only one Saturday matinee broadcast before January 2015. Her final live broadcast was on SiriusXM Radio on December 31, 2014. She recorded material for future broadcasts just a few weeks before she died.
- Beckerman, Jim. "Ridgewood native is the voice of the Met", The Record (Bergen County), July 28, 2008. Accessed July 29, 2008. Archived October 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Wakin, Daniel J. "Met Picks New Voice for Opera Broadcasts", The New York Times, September 29, 2004. Accessed July 29, 2008.
- "The Metropolitan Opera and SIRIUS Satellite Radio to Create Historic New Radio Channel", Sirius Satellite Radio press release, September 20, 2006. Accessed July 29, 2008.
- The Comedy-O-Rama Hour
- "WQXR - New York's Classical Music Radio Station". wqxr.org. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Remembering Margaret Juntwait". Metopera.org. The Metropolitan Opera House. Retrieved 13 June 2015.