FOREST HILLS, N.Y. – Anita Terzian was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to this country at the age of 12 with her parents Arthur and Seda Terzian and her brother Nelson. They eventually took up residences in Forest Hills, N.Y and became members of the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside N.Y. Anita’s love of classical music and opera led her to join the church choir, which was then under the directorship of Mary Selvinazian.
Anita applied to and was accepted by the Juilliard School of Music, where she obtained her Bachelor of Music and Master of Science degrees, both on full scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation which she obtained herself. At Juilliard, her two voice teachers were the famous Canadian-Jewish mezzo Soprano Jenny Tourel and the world-renowned Maria Callas. While still a student, Anita entered and won the classical music contest sponsored by the German-American radio station program “Liederkranz.”
Subsequent to her graduation from Juilliard, Anita entered and won first place in the International Voice Competition held in Munich, Germany. This launched her operatic career. Anita performed in many famous opera houses throughout Europe, South America and the United States, as well as for many Armenian churches and organizations (gratis of course).
To Anita’s many credits are several recordings, over 300 performances of the opera “Carmen,” and other Rossini operas. Notably, her performance of “Chenerentola” [Cinderella] at the Paris Opera was recorded by the BBC and simulcast internationally; she received a full 20-minute standing ovation for her performance. Anita was the guest of honor at the banquet of the Armenian Church Choir Association held in Richmond, VA. There Anita was presented an encyclical [gontag] from the Catholicos of All Armenians (Vehapar) by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian for her representation and raising of the Armenian name throughout the world.
Anita Terzian and Richard Titus were married in December of 1989 and made their residence together in Forest Hills until Anita’s untimely passing on January 20, 2021. Anita was predeceased by her parents, Arthur and Seda Terzian, in Florida. She is survived and sorely missed by her husband Richard, her brother Dr. Nelson A. Terzian, her niece Jennifer Terzian-Goldstein and their families of Ocean Reef and Coral Gables, Florida.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this obituary was published on March 3, 2021.