Novembre 4, 2021
In Figures persecuted by the Albanian regime
Merita Sokoli Tezha, born on December 29, 1924, in the city of Korça, Albania. From a young age she was distinguished by her rare talent for music and her wonderful voice, a voice which attracted the attention of Prof. Sotir Kozmo, a music teacher at the National Lyceum of Korça. In 1939 she went to study in Italy, at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome (Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia), an institution where the famous Beniamino Gigli, Maria Cherogiorgou-Sigara, Ennio Morricone, Franco Donatoni, Prenk Jakova, etc., also studied. She continued her studies until August 1944 with the pedagogue Ricardo Stracati and received private lessons from Mark Anthony as well, the pedagogue of the famous Mario del Monaco.
Merita is the first Albanian actress (a little known fact) with the lead role together with Kristaq Antoniu in the first Albanian short film “Meeting at the Lake” which was shot in Shkodra and at the Manastir of St. Naum in Pogradec in 1942, but which was shown only in Italy. Most Albanians do not even know that this film even existed. In 1944 she sang on Radio Tirana together with famous Albanian sopranos Tefta Tashko-Koço and Marie Kraja, and in 1945 with her rare talent, she became active in the National Theater, alongside Naim Frashëri, Lazër Filipi, Prokop Mima, Liza Vorfi, etc. In May 1947, she and her husband (Tika Tezha) were arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for agitation and propaganda as “enemies of the people” (of the people she loved to sing), cutting off her smile, silencing her beautiful voice, and completely destroying her life. She went through the terrible tortures and hardships in prison together with Sabiha Kasimati, Rita Koçi, Musine Kokalari, etc.
The horror of imprisonments, deportations, and internments, accompanied her whole life together with her husband and the only son Didi. In 1993 she emigrated to the USA with her son and his family. She passed away exactly today, November 4, 2007, suffering from lung cancer. Merita was a rare talent, a born nightingale, a star of Albanian art but that ruthless communism never let her shine and extinguished her from the first steps by tearing apart her life and severely damaging Albanian art. May her soul rest in eternal peace.