The legacy of Teresa Berganza

Teresa Berganza, a mezzo-soprano from Madrid with an exquisite voice, seductive timbre and great musicality, died yesterday in San Lorenzo de El Escorial at the age of 89.

The legacy of Teresa Berganza

Teresa Berganza, a mezzo-soprano from Madrid with an exquisite voice, seductive timbre and great musicality, died yesterday in San Lorenzo de El Escorial at the age of 89. Together with Montserrat Caballé and Victoria de los Ángeles, Berganza has been one of the greatest Spanish contributions to bel canto. Based on a solid background and a broad culture, Ella Berganza made her way in difficult times, first in Spain and then, without much delay, on the international scene. Some recitals by Schuman at the Ateneo de Madrid are listed as her first performance. Immediately, she launched her career abroad, and was already regularly required on major operatic stages.

La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan or Carnegie Hall in New York, the Vienna Opera, Covent Garden in London, the Salzburg Festival, and also the Liceu in Barcelona applauded his performances over and over again, throughout a long and successful career.

It is often said that Mozart – Berganza's interpretations of the roles of Cherubino or Dorabella are well remembered – and Rossini were his two favorite composers. But it is also true that Berganza distinguished himself for his recovery of the baroque repertoire, for his fondness for French opera. And, also, for the affection he felt for Spanish composers, such as Toldrà, Turina, Granados or Falla, to name a few, who found high expressions of him in his voice.

The recently deceased mezzo-soprano liked to say that singing is “a leafy tree planted on the banks of the river of life”. This definition seems particularly accurate if we apply it to her song. Because Berganza's personal interpretive criteria, capable of giving a new dimension to so many hackneyed roles, has acquired a very notorious dimension over the years, always watered by her mighty culture and her inexhaustible curiosity.

Berganza's career had, as has already been pointed out, the recognition of the public of the main opera houses in the world, perhaps the most precious award. But he also enjoyed the applause of the institutions, as proven, without leaving our country, by the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1991 and the National Music Award in 1996. Already in the absence of Berganza, the best award for those who today regret her departure will be the recordings she leaves us, a true legacy of one of the best operatic performers the country has given.


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