Albanese, Licia

Albanese, Licia,

1909–2014, Italian-American soprano. A lirico-spinto soprano, whose silvery voice was suited to lyric and somewhat heavier roles, she specialized in PucciniPuccini, Giacomo
, 1858–1924, Italian composer of operas. He wrote some of the most popular works in the opera repertory. A descendant of a long line of musicians, he studied piano and organ at his Tuscan birthplace, Lucca, and in 1880 entered the Milan Conservatory.
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 and was particularly known for her passionate characterizations of Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, and Tosca as well as Violetta in VerdiVerdi, Giuseppe
, 1813–1901, foremost Italian composer of opera, b. Le Roncole. Verdi, the son of an innkeeper, showed a precocious talent for the organ but was refused entrance to the Milan Conservatory as having been inadequately trained.
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's La Traviata. She is often considered the last of her generation to have been a prima donna assoluta, exceeding nearly all others in her skill. Albanese debuted in 1934 when she substituted to acclaim in the title role of Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Lirico in Milan. She came to New York in 1939 and made her American debut (1940) at the Metropolitan Opera, where she sang in more than 400 performances (1940–66). An American citizen from 1940, she received the National Medal of Arts in 1995.