|Renata Tebaldi as Violetta|Victoria de los Angeles as Violetta|
Divas preserved at their peak
[New Zealand Herald] 26.01.05
by Don Milne
According to popular legend, one great operatic soprano comes along every generation. The years directly following the end of World War II were singularly blessed with the emergence of no fewer than three great divas.
The tempestuous and too-short life of Maria Callas, regarded by many as the greatest, ended in 1977. But her two greatest rivals lived into old age, by strange fate – the force of destiny? – dying within less than a month of each other.
Pesaro-born Renata Tebaldi died at her home in San Marino last month, aged 82, while Barcelona-born Victoria de los Angeles, a year younger, died this month in Spain.
Tebaldi, who was a mainstay of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala and Covent Garden, never sang here.
But those who heard de los Angeles on a recital tour in the 1950s confirm what world audiences appreciated – she sang like the angels her name suggested.
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