February is a month in which three different Opera Divas, from different Opera times, celebrate their Birthdays and we will pay a tribute to them, the fabulous Leontyne Price, the wonderful Joyce DiDonato and the beautiful Renee Fleming.
We will start with Leontyne Price who recently turned 89 on February 10th. Leontyne Price is one of the most respected, most beloved and admired Sopranos of the last 65 years. She is regarded as the first African American to gain international acclaim as a professional opera singer. She made her historical debut at the MET in Verdi’s masterpiece “Il Trovatore” on January 27, 1961, along with another future legend of the Opera, Franco Corelli and her debut at the MET is considered as one of the greatest moments of the history of the MET. Here is a recording of Leontyne Price performing “D’amor sull’ali rosee” from her historical debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore. And if you listen at the end of the performance, the huge ovations from the audience didn’t let her finish her performance of “”D’amor sull’ali rosee”and continue to the following “Miserere”.
Leontyne Price delivered her farewell performance in the titular role of Aida at the Met in 1985, which was telecast and hailed as one of the most successful operatic performances in the Met’s history. Here you can watch and listen this historical farewell performance and here, you can listen one of the biggest ovations of the history of Opera.
Joyce DiDonato is is an American operatic lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano notable for her interpretations of the works of Handel, Mozart, and Rossini. She has performed with many of the world’s leading opera companies and orchestras, she is one of the most beloved and respected Opera Artists of this time and today, in 2016 she recently won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo.
Joyce DiDonato performed many unforgettable Operas lik Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Donna del Lago, Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni and Idomeneo.
Conductor Sir Georg Solti said of Fleming, “In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing; the other was Renata Tebaldi”.