Albanese, Licia, noted Italian-born American soprano; b. Bari, July 22, 1909. She studied with Emanuel de Rosa in Bari and Giuseppina Baldassare-Tedeschi in Milan. In 1934 she made an unexpected operatic debut at Milan’s Teatro Lirico when she was called in to substitute as Cio-Cio-San for the 2nd act of Madama Butterfly. In 1935 she made her first appearance at Milan’s La Scala as Puccini’s Lauretta, and subsequently sang there with distinction in such roles as Mimi and Micaela. In 1937 she made her debut at London’s Covent Garden as Liù. On Feb. 9, 1940, she made her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. as Cio-Cio-San, and remained on its roster as one of its most admired artists until 1963. In 1964 she rejoined its roster and sang with it until her farewell appearance as Mimi in a concert performance at the Newport (R.L) Opera Festival on July 12, 1966. During her years at the Metropolitan Opera, she was greatly admired for her portrayals in operas by Puccini. She also excelled as Mozart’s Countess, Susanna, Adriana Lecouvreur, Des-demona, Massenet’s Manon, and Violetta. In 1945 she became a naturalized American citizen. In 1995 she was awarded the Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
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