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 Puccini and was particularly known for her passionate characterizations of Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, and Tosca as well as Violetta in Verdi'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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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