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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Obituary: Teresa Berganza, sultry-voiced mezzo-soprano, respected for her portrayal of Carmen

Blessed with a dusky, sultry and sensual voice, Teresa Bergenza, who has died at the age of 89, also had beautiful eyes that widened and deepened as she embraced her role. While his Mozart was impeccable and his Rossini excellent, it was probably Carmen who best suited his time and personality.

Although short in stature, Bergenza could play diva with the rest. Luciano Pavarotti’s US PR representative, Herbert Breslin, said he refused to pay taxes in his home country, meaning his manager would have to raise his fees by more than the amount he asked to cover them. “It almost knocked him out of the competition, and as a result Berganza didn’t have as big a career here as he could have,” Breslin said.

He also had a reputation for canceling, which he did not regret. “I will never allow myself to sing in bad situations when my voice is not ready to sing,” she said. “We all cancel when we feel like we’re not ready to give our best.”

Teresa Berganza Vargas was born on March 16, 1933 in Madrid in an ordinary family (many books incorrectly state 1935). She was the youngest of three children of Guillermo Berganza, a left-wing atheist accountant who took a liking to music and played the trumpet and piano, and his royal Catholic wife Ascension (née Vargas). “We were neither rich nor poor,” said Bergenza. “But we never lacked anything, because for my parents, our education was based on two values: love and humility.”

He learned piano with his father, who arranged singing lessons for him with Lola Rodriguez Aragon. In her first session she was asked to go home, lay on the floor with a stack of books on her chest and take a deep breath. “Since my father was very educated, we had a whole collection of encyclopedias,” she said. “I remember looking at my mom rolling my eyes and saying, ‘My daughter is going to go crazy’.”

As a teenager, she spent several months in a convent contemplating a life of prayer, although she described many years later how she identified more with the free Carmen. “Of course, I could never be Carmen because of my strict education,” she said. “I don’t think I can really share his character, but I certainly have something in me.”

In July 1957, she made her debut at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Dorabella in Mozart’s Kosi fan broken With Teresa Stitch-Randell as his sister, Fiordiligi. “Bergenza’s singing was one of the great moments of the evening,” Opera Magazine celebrated.

The following year, she came face-to-face with two other divas as Maria Callas and John Vickers, when they were cast together by Cherubini’s Dallas Opera. media,

After making his British debut at Glyndebourne Figaro’s wedding In 1958, Bergenza was due to return to the role the following year, but was expecting a child and had to withdraw. Earlier in the season, he sang Rossini’s la serrentolaThere are few looking as incongruous as a pregnant Cinderella.

At the Royal Opera House in 1960, she was in Rossini’s Rossina Seville’s Barber, Moderated by Carlo Maria Giulini. Critics were impressed.

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The star of Baranza continued to rise. He recorded Handel’s recorded Alsina He made his debut with Joan Sutherland in 1960 and as Cherubino in 1967 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. His 1977 recording carmen That role began a series of productions: Hamburg in 1980; San Francisco in 1981; and Covent Garden in 1984.

She has appeared in several films including a television carmen In 1980 with Placido Domingo, and was involved in the opening ceremony of Expo ’92 at the Seville and Barcelona Olympics.

Two years later, she was the first woman to be elected to the Spanish Royal Academy of Arts. His last rendition was with his daughter soprano Cecilia Lavila at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 2002.

In 1957, Bergenza married Spanish pianist and composer Felix Lavila. The marriage was dissolved in 1977, a separation she said was inspired by the role of the liberated Carmen.

In 1986, she married Jose Rifa, a priest from whom she had consulted about their separation. He later returned to the church. He had a son and two daughters from his first marriage.

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