Celebrated Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza, who performed in the world’s greatest concert halls since the 1950s, has died at the age of 89, Spain’s culture ministry announced. “We are very sad to learn of the death of Teresa Berganza,” the ministry tweeted, saying Berganza had died on Friday. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez hailed her as “one of the greatest female voices in the world”. “Her voice, her elegance, her art will be with us forever,” Sanchez continued.
The Madrid-born singer specialized in the works of Rossini and Mozart. She was also famed for her appearances in the leading role of Bizet’s famous opera “Carmen”. In a message released posthumously by her family to the Spanish media, Berganza said, “I don’t want a public announcement or a wake, nothing. “I came into the world without anyone knowing, I want it to be the same when I leave it.”
Berganza made her operatic debut in 1957 as Dorabella in Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” in at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in southern France. The following year she made her first appearance in the United States, singing in Dallas alongside Maria Callas in Cherubini’s opera “Medea”. She went on to sing in the world’s most famous concert halls, from Vienna to Milan, via Paris, London, New York and Chicago. Berganza was the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts in Spain and was also awarded an honorary doctorate by Madrid’s Complutense University. In 2005 she was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. – AFP