Peralta, Ángela (1845–1883)

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Peralta, Ángela (1845–1883)

Ángela Peralta (b. 6 July 1845; d. 30 August 1883), Mexican operatic soprano and composer. Born in Mexico City, Peralta showed a natural gift for singing; she is supposed to have impressed the great German soprano Henrietta Sontag in 1854. Thereafter she became a student of Agustín Balderas, who sponsored her debut at fifteen in Verdi's Il Trovatore and then took her to Europe, where she made a notable impression. Peralta returned to Mexico during the Second Empire and became a favorite of Maximilian and Carlotta, appearing in the premiere of Melesio Morales's Ildegonda.

The decade 1865–1875 was the period of Peralta's greatest activity. She toured Mexico and Europe, with performances in Havana and New York. A celebrated season followed her homecoming in 1871, because she brought with her the famous tenor Enrico Tamberlick and sang with him in another Mexican opera, Guatimotzín, by Aniceto Ortega del Villar. She formed her own opera company and acted as the impresario. Although best known for her bel canto singing, Peralta adopted a more dramatic style when she played the lead in her company's first Mexican production of Verdi's Aida, a role closely identified with her. Another facet of her later career was composition of popular songs.

Peralta's husband, Eugenio Castera, died in 1877; Peralta subsequently formed a scandalous liaison with her manager, Julián Montiel y Duarte. Ostracized in Mexico City, she took her company to remote towns, including Mazatlán, where she contracted yellow fever and died at age thirty-eight. In 1937 her remains were moved to the Panteón in Mexico City.

See alsoMusic: Art Music.


A popular biography is Armando De María y Campos, Angela Peralta: El ruiseñor mexicano (1944); Ronald H. Dolkart, "Angela Peralta: A Mexican Diva," in The Human Tradition in Latin America: The Nineteenth Century, edited by Judith Ewell and William H. Beezley (1989), pp. 161-174.

Additional Bibliography

Alvarez Coral, Juan. Compositores mexicanos. México: EDAMEX, 1993.

Sosa M., José Octavio. Diccionario de la ópera mexicana. México, D.F.: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2005.

                                Ronald H. Dolkart