DALISAY J. ALDABA, Soprano * 09 September 1912, Hagonoy, Bulacan + 13 March 2006;

Dalisay J. Aldaba was an Opera Singer, known as the great little butterfly in the Philippines. She was born on September 9, 1912, completed her piano course at the UP Conservatory of Music in 1936 and earned an Associate in Arts from the university in 1941. She obtained a Master of Arts in music, literature, and voice at the University of Michigan, USA in 1947. She was the director of the opera workshop and head of the Voice Department at the Philippine Women’s University. Her singing debut was with the New York City Opera Company in the title role of Cio Cio San in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
She founded the Opera Guild of the Philippines on December 22, 1969. The Manila Music Lovers Society named her the Opera Singer of the year in 1947.

Philippines Manila Cultural Center Theatre Madama Butterfly

Philippines Manila Cultural Center Theatre con il soprano Dalisay Aldaba – 1973

President of the Philippines Ferdinad E. Marcos and Dalisay Aldaba

President of the Philippines Ferdinad E. Marcos and Dalisay Aldaba CCP

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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Sopranos


CAMILLA WILLIAMS, Soprano * 18 October 1919, Danville, Virginia, United States + 29 January 2012, Bloomington, Indiana, United States;

Litrato ni Gerhard Santos.

(TIML News) Camilla Williams was an operatic soprano who performed nationally and internationally. She trained with some of the best teachers in New York City, and was the first black person to receive a regular contract with a major American opera company, the New York City Opera. Williams was born Camilla Ella Williams in Danville, Virginia, to Fannie Carey Williams and Cornelius Booker Williams. Her grandparents and parents were self-taught musicians.
As a young girl, Williams started singing, dancing, and playing the piano at Danville’s Calvary Baptist Church. She later trained at Virginia State College, where she earned a B.S. degree. She went on to receive the Marian Anderson Fellowship in 1943 and in 1944.
In 1944, she began performing on the coast-to-coast RCA radio network. By 1946, Williams was the first African-American to receive a regular contract with a major American opera company, making her debut with the New York City Opera in the title role in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
She continued to sing throughout the United States and traveled to Europe with various other opera companies. In 1951, she sang Bess in the landmark, first complete recording of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
In 1963, as part of the civil rights March on Washington, she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the White House and before 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial preceding Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Williams was the first African-American Professor of Voice appointed to the voice faculty of what is now known as the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 1977. In 1984 she became the first African-American instructor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China.
In 1950, Williams married Charles T. Beavers, a civil rights lawyer who worked with Malcolm X. Camilla Ella Williams died January 29, 2012.

Camilla Williams as Cio Cio San

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Camilla Williams’s Senior Recital at VSU

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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Sopranos


GIOVANNI MATTEO DE CANDIA, Tenor * 18 October 1810, Cagliari, Italy + 11 December 1883, Rome, Italy;

Image result for Mario (Giovanni Matteo De Candia

Giovanni Matteo De Candia also known as Mario ((1810 – 1883) was an Italian opera singer. The most celebrated tenor of his era, he was lionized by audiences in Paris and London. He was the mate of the opera singer Giulia Grisi.

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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Tenors


GIUSEPPE BORGATTI, Tenor * 17 March 1871, Italy + 18 October 1950, Leggiuno, Italy;

He was born into a poor rural family from the Province of Ferrara in northern Italy and grew up illiterate, according to the music-performance historian John Rosselli. This handicap did not prevent Borgatti from finding work as a bricklayer/stone-cutter. He was also called up by the authorities to discharge a compulsory period of military service. Luckily, a wealthy patron happened to hear him sing. Struck by the inherent quality of Borgatti’s voice, the patron arranged for him to have professional singing lessons and acquire basic educational skills. His voice teachers included Alessandro Busi in Bologna and, later, Carlo d’Ormeville. In 1892 (some sources say 1893), Borgatti made his operatic debut at Castelfranco Veneto, singing the role of Faust in the opera of the same name by Charles Gounod. A string of performances at other Italian opera houses ensued in mainly lyric parts. Eighteen ninety-four saw Borgatti successfully undertake the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in a notable production in Venice of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Later that same year he appeared at another major venue, the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, as Lohengrin (his first assumption of a Wagnerian part). His career was now gaining real momentum but he would not become a major opera star until 1896 when, at Milan’s La Scala, he sang in the premiere performance of Andrea Chénier to great acclaim. Although Borgatti continued to appear in a number of Italian operas after 1896, earning particular renown for his performances in works by Giuseppe Verdi, Puccini and the various verismo composers, he fell strongly under the spell of Wagner’s music dramas. He worked closely with La Scala’s principal conductor, Arturo Toscanini, from 1898 through into the early 1900s, and proceeded to master all the main tenor parts of the Wagnerian repertoire, namely, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Walther, Tristan, Siegmund, Siegfried and, finally, Parsifal. In 1898, he toured South America with a first-class troupe of Italian singers which included his fellow tenor Francesco Tamagno, the soprano Luisa Tetrazzini and the baritones Mario Sammarco and Eugenio Giraldoni. He also visited Spain and Russia. In 1901, he took part in a “grand concert” at La Scala that had been organised to mark the recent death of Verdi. Toscanini conducted the concert and among the array of soloists participating in it with Borgatti were Tamagno and the rising tenor star Enrico Caruso. Borgatti was accorded the honour of being the first Italian tenor invited to sing at Germany’s Bayreuth Festival in 1904. Both Cosima Wagner (the composer’s widow and the festival’s director) and the important Wagnerian conductor Hans Richter praised Borgatti’s voice and artistry. In 1906, he made a different venture into the field of German opera when he sang Herod in the La Scala premiere of Salome by Richard Strauss. Two years later, he was called upon to perform at the new Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Good looking and solidly built—as photographs attest—Borgatti is described in contemporary reviews of his performances as having possessed abundant reserves of stamina and strong histrionic ability in addition to a smooth, well-schooled voice of robust size. Modern-day critics, including Scott, J.B. Steane and John Freestone, have praised him, too, for the clarity of his diction, the limpidity of his tone and the fineness of his phrasing. He took pride in the fact that even after he took on the heavy Wagnerian repertoire, he was still able to put across a bel canto aria like “Una furtiva lagrima” (from Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore) with lyrical ease. Oddly enough, despite his exceptional attainments as a singer and interpretive artist, he never performed in London or New York City. At the height of his career, in 1907, Borgatti began losing his sight due to glaucoma. This affliction grew steadily worse, obliging him to retire from the operatic stage seven years after its onset, even though his voice was still in excellent condition. He kept giving concerts, however, and the theatre in his home town of Cento was named in his honour in 1924. By this juncture, he was blind in both eyes. His last public performance occurred in Bologna in 1928. He taught singing in Milan following the curtailment of his opera house career. His best known pupils were the English lyric tenor Heddle Nash (1894–1961) and the German lyric baritone Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (1897–1978). Borgatti married one of his singing teachers, Elena Cuccoli. They had a daughter, Renata Borgatti (1894–1964), who became a concert pianist. Borgatti died at a resort town near Italy’s Lake Maggiore.
Chronology of some appearances

1893 Imola Teatro Comunale Don Pasquale (Ernesto)

1894 Novara Teatro Coccia Favorita (Fernando)

1894 Madrid Teatro Real Gioconda (Enzo)

1896 Milano  Teatro La Scala Andrea Chenier (creater) (Chenier)

1896 Genova  Politeama Genovese Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1897 Roma Teatro Argentina Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1897 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1898 Cairo Teatro Khediviale Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1898 Alessandria d’Egitto Teatro Zizinia Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1898 Buenos Aires Teatro dell’Opera Boheme (Rodolfo)

1899 Bologna Teatro Comunale Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1899 Roma Teatro Costanzi Boheme (Rodolfo)

1902 Lisbona Teatro San Carlos Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1902 Alessandria d’Egitto Teatro Zizinia Carmen (Don Jose)

1902 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Andrea Chenier (Chenier)

1903 Alessandria d’Egitto Teatro Zizinia Carmen  (Don Jose)

1903 Cairo Teatro Khediviale Carmen (Don Jose)

1904 Buenos Aires Teatro dell’Opera Dannazione di Faust (Faust)


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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Tenors


MARGRETA ELKINS, Mezzo-Soprano * 16 October 1930, Brisbane, Australia + 1 April 2009, Brisbane, Australia;

Image result for Margreta Elkins (Mezzo-soprano)

The Australian mezzo-soprano, Margreta Elkins, studied with Ruby Dent in Brisbane, with Pauline Bindley in Melbourne and Vera Rozsa in London. She had further studies with Campogalliani in Milan.

In 1950 Margreta Elkins toured Queensland and appeared in Faust as Siebel; Il Trovatore as Azucena; and Madama Butterfly as Suzuki. In 1952 she joined and toured with the National Opera Company of Australia, making her début as Carmen in Brisbane in 1953 and Azucena in 1954. She made her debut at the Brisbane Opera Company in 1955 as Azucena.

Moving to Europe in 1956, Margreta Elkins was based there for the next twenty years and performed with the Dublin Grand Opera Company and the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Carmen as Carmen. By 1957 (or 1958 – Who’s Who) she had become resident principal mezzo-soprano at the Royal Opera House, where she stayed for ten years, appearing in Aida as Amneris; Lucia di Lammermoor as Alisa; Der Rosenkavalier as Octavian; Die Walküre as Sieglinde; and The Growing Castle as The Poet, Adalgisa in Norma, and Marina in Boris Godunov. She sang at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 1963, in Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel. She regularly appeared with Joan Sutherland in Norma, as Adalgisa, and in Alcina, as Ruggiero. Her other roles included Herodias, Maffio Orsini, Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) and Delilah. She played Helen in the premiere of Tippett’s King Priam, with the Royal Opera at Coventry on May 29, 1962.

Margreta Elkins had guest engagements in Genoa, Naples, Barcelona, Naples, Boston, New Orleans and Philadelphia. In 1974 she sang in Amsterdam in G.F. Handel’s Rodelinda. In 1976 (or 1975 – Who’s Who), she returned to Australia and became a member of the Australian Opera in Sydney. She appeared as Amneris at Brisbane in 1988, and as Azucena in 1990. Her repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to Wagner, and she also gave many concert appearances.

On June 11, 1984, Margreta Elkins was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to opera. She is a Sessional Lecturer in Voice at the Queensland Conservatorium.

Image result for Margreta Elkins (Mezzo-soprano)

Image result for Margreta Elkins (Mezzo-soprano)

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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Mezzo-Sopranos


ANGELO MERCURIALI, Tenor * 17 October 1909 + 17 December 1999, Milan, Italy;

He was a nephew of the baritone Napoleone Gandini. He was trained by the pedagogues Zoli in Bologna, then A. Malagodi in Cesena and Ghislanzoni in Milan. On 23. 12. 1932 he made his debut at the Teatro Verdi in Ferrara as Lord Arturo in ‘’Lucia di Lammermoor’’ by Gaetano Donizetti. After the Second World War he specialized in comprimario and Buffo parts and now belonged to the stars of La Scala in Milano, where he appeared for the first time in R. Zandonai’s opera ‘’Conchita’’. Probably he retired from the stage in 1969. Totally he appeared in 254 parts in 197 operas.

Chronology of some appearances

1932 Ferrara Teatro Verdi Lucia di Lammermoor (Lord Arturo)
1940 Milano La Scala La donna senz’ombra (apparizione d’un ragazzo)
1940 Milano La Scala La Rondine (Gobin)
1940 Milano La Scala Fidelio (Giacchino)
1952 Venezia Teatro alla Fenice Manon Lescaut (Edmondo)
1952 Venezia Teatro alla Fenice I Quatro Rusteghi (Conte Riccardo)
1953 Milano La Scala Cagliostro (2°carceriere)
1955 Milano la Scala David (Sciama/Isoboam)
1956 Milano La Scala Troilo e Cressida (1°sacerdote)
1956 Milano La Scala Boris Godunov (Boiardo)
1958 Milano La Scala Adriana Lecouvreur (Poisson)
1960 Milano La Scala Andrea Chenier (Abate)


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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Tenors


DOLORES WILSON, Soprano * 9 August 1928, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States + 28 September 2010, Englewood, New Jersey, United States;

Image result for DOLORES WILSON soprano

Dolores Wilson, a Metropolitan Opera soprano of the 1950s who later sang in Broadway musicals, died on Sept. 28 in Englewood, N.J. She was 82 and lived in Englewood.

A friend, Karin Farrell, confirmed the death, saying Ms. Wilson died of natural causes.

Ms. Wilson, who appeared at the Met 26 times between 1954 and 1959, was praised by critics for her silvery voice and assured stage presence. She made her debut with the company at 25, in the title role in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” opposite the distinguished tenor Jan Peerce.

Reviewing the performance in The New York Times, Howard Taubman wrote that Ms. Wilson “sang a Lucia of uncommon merit,” adding: “Her voice is fresh in quality, large in size and flexible in production. She has considerable poise, and she knows something about making music rather than pretty sounds.”

At the Met, Ms. Wilson’s other roles included Rosina in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” Susanna in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Zerlina in his “Don Giovanni” and Gilda in Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”

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Continue reading the main story

Elsewhere, she originated the title role in “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” an opera by the American composer Douglas Moore set amid the silver mines of 19th-century Colorado. Ms. Wilson sang the role in the opera’s world premiere, on July 7, 1956, at the Central City Opera in Central City, Colo. (She would alternate with Lenya Gabriele during the rest of the run.)
The opera soon entered the standard repertory; the role of Baby Doe, the young wife of the silver magnate Horace Tabor, would come to be associated in public memory with Beverly Sills, who sang it often with the New York City Opera.

Dolores Mae Wilson was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 9, 1928; her mother, Elisa E. Wilson, was a fashion designer whose clients included Loretta Young and Dinah Shore. After her parents separated when she was a girl, Dolores moved with her mother to New York.

By the time she was a teenager, Dolores was singing regularly on the radio and had also begun her classical training. Choosing opera over popular song, she got much of her early experience in Italy, where she sang to considerable acclaim under the name Dolores Vilsoni.

After leaving the Met as a result of creative differences with its famously autocratic general manager, Rudolf Bing, Ms. Wilson turned to musical theater. She made her Broadway debut in “The Yearling,” a short-lived 1965 musical that also starred David Wayne, and later took over the role of Golde in the original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Her other Broadway credits include the 1979 musical “I Remember Mama” and “Annie,” in which she took over the role of Miss Hannigan.

Ms. Wilson was married and divorced twice. No immediate family members survive.

Only once, by all accounts, did Ms. Wilson’s operatic training fail to stand her in good stead. As she explained in an interview with The New York Mirror in 1954, it caused her unanticipated difficulties after she arrived in Italy as a young singer:

“I found that the Italian I’d learned by studying operas enabled me to talk intelligently only about poisons and suicide and tragic love affairs, and was no good at all for everyday affairs.”

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Posted by on October 16, 2017 in Sopranos

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