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Martina Arroyo

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Biography

Martina Arroyo (born February 2, 1937) is an operatic soprano of Puerto Rican and African-American descent who had a major international opera career during the 1960s through the 1980s. She was part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world.

Arroyo first rose to prominence at the Zurich Opera between 1963-1965, after which she was one of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading sopranos between 1965 and 1978. During her years at the Metropolitan Opera she was also a regular presence at the world’s best opera houses, performing on the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Colón, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna State Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera to name just a few. She is best known for her performances of the Italian spinto repertoire and in particular her portrayals of Verdi and Puccini heroines. Her last opera performance was in 1991, after which she has devoted her time to teaching singing on the faculties of various universities in the United States and Europe.

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