October 25, 2015

Victoria de los Ángeles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Portrait by Allan Warren

Coming up next month is the anniversary of the birth of the brilliant operatic soprano, Victoria de los Angeles. She was born Victoria de los Ángeles López García on November 1, 1923, in the porter's lodge of the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Catalonia, España.

In 1992, when she was 70 years old, she sang the beautiful Catalan song, El cant dels ocells (Carol of the Birds), for the Barcelona Olympics Closing Ceremony (link below to the performance on YouTube) accompanied by cellist, Lluís Claret.       

I was in Barcelona for the first time in 1989 and the city was feverishly preparing for the games; it was an incredibly exciting time for art and music. I am eternally grateful I was there before the games as it was to be the beginning of the transformation of Barcelona; the games introduced the city to the hundreds of thousands who attended and the city would never be the same.   

~ ~ ~

Victoria de los Angeles was a Spanish operatic lyric coloratura soprano and recitalist whose career began after the Second World War and reached its height in the years from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.

She was among the first Spanish-born operatic singers to record the complete opera of Carmen in June, 1958, at the Salle Wagram, Paris, France, with tenor Nicolai Gedda and the Orchestra of the RDF conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham (link below).          

In 1941, while still a student, she made her operatic debut as Mimì in La bohème at the Liceu, afterwards resuming her musical studies. In 1945, she returned to the Liceu to make her professional debut as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro.

In 1949, Victoria de los Angles made her first appearance in the Paris Opéra as Marguerite. The following year, she made her debut in Salzburg and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Mimì, and in the United States with a recital at Carnegie Hall. In March 1951, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Marguérite, and she went on to sing with the company for ten years. In 1952, she became an instant favourite in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colón as the title role in Madama Butterfly. She returned to Buenos Aires many times until 1979. She sang at La Scala in Milan from 1950 to 1956 and, in 1957, she sang at the Vienna State Opera.     

After making her debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser in 1961, she devoted herself principally to a concert career. However, for the next twenty years, she continued to make occasional appearances in one of her favourite operatic roles, Bizet's Carmen.
She died on 15 January 2005 of heart failure in her native Barcelona, aged 81. Her obituary in The Times (London) noted that she must be counted “among the finest singers of the second half of the 20th century". James Hinton, Jr. praised her "meltingly lovely middle voice" in Opera Magazine. Elizabeth Forbes, writing in London's The Independent also noted that "It is impossible to imagine a more purely beautiful voice than that  of Victoria de los Ángeles at the height of her career in the 1950s and early 1960s". She was ranked number 3, after Maria Callas and Dame Joan Sutherland, in the BBC Music Magazine List of The Top Twenty Sopranos of All Time (2007).

Net links:       

Victoria de los Angeles sings Carmen               

Victoria de los Angles on YouTube:            
1992 Barcelona Olympics                 
Habanera (film-date unknown) 
Links to more music by Victoria de los Angles on YouTube                      

Per molts anys, Victoria!

Llarg Catalunya en viu!

 Styrous® ~ Sunday, October 25, 2015

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