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Edita Gruberová Divi of the Day 

Edita Gruberová

Edita Gruberová is one of the singers I wish I had discovered earlier in my life; every time I hear her, I’m amazed by her intonation, ornamentation, and clarity in both tone and diction. Born in 1946, the Slovak soprano studied music at the Bratislava Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, which opened in 1949. Gruberová is a coloratura soprano. She is a renowned interpreter of many leading ladies in the bel canto genre, as well as the Queen of the Night (Mozart, Die Zauberflöte or The…

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Olga Peretyatko Divi of the Day 

Olga Peretyatko sings Bellini’s I puritani

I’ve heard a lot of naysayers talk about Olga Peretyatko’s diction and intonation, but just listen to her in this recording of Bellini’s I puritani. What a gorgeous sound in such an exquisite work, an excellent example of bel canto. I puritani premiered in Paris in 1835, the year of the composer’s death. Olga Peretyatko made her Met debut singing this role (Elvira) in 2014. +20

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Ferruccio Furlanetto Divi of the Day 

Ferruccio Furlanetto

Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto has a powerful, unforgettable sound. I know him primarily through Mozart – as Figaro in a famous Met recording of Le Nozze di Figaro and as Don Alfonso in another James Levine led production of Così fan tutte (this one was with the Vienna Philharmonic). Although I know him primarily from Mozart operas, he is a renowned interpreter of Verdi as well. Ferruccio Furlanetto | Biography Furlanetto was born in Sacile, Italy in 1949. He began his opera career in Italy, but after making his U.S….

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Dawn Upshaw Divi of the Day 

Diva of the Day: Dawn Upshaw

Diva Dawn Upshaw has a light and sparkly soprano sound, ideally suited to soubrette roles. It was in just such a role that I first heard her – as Susanna in a Metropolitan Opera recording of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Diva Dawn Upshaw – Biography Upshaw was born in 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music, after which she won numerous awards, including the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1984 and the Walter M. Naumburg Competition in 1985. She made her Met debut…

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Sherrill Milnes Divi of the Day 

Sherrill Milnes

Sherrill Milnes was another name that kept popping up on the CD box sets I was buying. I first heard Milnes on the famous 1971 recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto with Sutherland and Pavarotti. Like so many great singers, he has an unforgettable and unmistakable sound. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Milnes is power. He also has a wonderful ability to convey emotion in his tone and bring out different colors of his instrument. Listen below to see what I mean. I wouldn’t say his…

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Kathleen Battle Divi of the Day 

Kathleen Battle

The opera world loves a good controversy, and Kathleen Battle certainly provided one! Born in 1948, Battle first appeared on the operatic stage as Rosina in Michigan Opera Theater’s 1975 production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. Two years later she made her Met debut, playing the Shepherd in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. During the 1980s, Battle became a renowned interpreter of lyric and coloratura soprano roles. 00

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Joan Sutherland Divi of the Day 

Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland was the first operatic soprano I ever knew. My passion for opera began with a 1971 Decca recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto in which Joan played Gilda opposite Pavarotti’s Duke of Mantua. Although never a master of diction, Sutherland had an unforgettable voice with a natural flair for coloratura passages. 00

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Tito Gobbi Divi of the Day 

Tito Gobbi

Italian baritone Tito Gobbi was a prolific and versatile performer and stage director from his debut in 1935 to his retirement in 1979. He appeared in over 25 film versions of operas and played Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca almost 1,000 times. In fact, he played Scarpia opposite Maria Callas‘ Tosca in the famed 1953 de Sabata recording. Gobbi was also a famous interpreter of Verdi characters Iago and Falstaff, as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva (in Le Nozze di Figaro). Listen to Gobbi’s power in one of…

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Maria Callas Divi of the Day 

Maria Callas

The quintessential diva, Maria Callas was renowned not just for her beautiful singing, but also for her superb acting. The short-lived Greek-American star was born in New York City in 1923. She studied music in Greece and first emerged on the operatic stage in Italy. Callas is widely regarded as one of the great interpreters of the 19th-century bel canto technique, singing virtually all the major Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini soprano roles. A recording of her singing the title role of Puccini’s Tosca in 1952 is still considered the gold…

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