16 March 1935 (age 82)
Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
The Spanish opera singer Teresa Berganza (born 16 March 1935) is one of the foremost soprano/mezzo-sopranos of the third quarter of the 20th century known for her luminescent, smooth and creamy voice. With certainty a dramatic value her personal elegance made her known for her performances on stage. She is most closely associated with the roles of Rossini, Mozart, and Bizet. She is admired for her technical virtuosity, musical intelligence and beguiling stage presence.
María Teresa Berganza was born in Madrid. She studied piano and voice at the Madrid Conservatory, where she was awarded first prize for singing in 1954. She made her concert debut in Madrid in 1955.
Berganza made her operatic debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte in 1957 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. That same year, she made her La Scala debut and the following year her debut at Glyndebourne (1958). In 1959, Berganza first appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, which became one of her signature roles. In 1967, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro.
As a recitalist, Berganza made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1964. Her concert repertoire includes Spanish, French, German, and Russian songs. From 1957 to 1977 Berganza was married to the composer and pianist Félix Lavilla, with whom she recorded and performed regularly and with whom she has three children, soprano Cecilia Lavilla Berganza among them.
Berganza shared the 1991 Prince of Asturias Award for arts and letters with six other Spanish singers.
In 1992, Berganza participated in the opening ceremonies of Expo '92 in Seville and the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In 1994, she became the first woman elected to the Spanish Royal Academy of Arts. She currently teaches singing at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, continues to perform music of Spanish composers and gives master classes all over the world. Among her students have been María Bayo and Jorge Chaminé.
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