In the 19th century, a woman’s voice and talent were known from both sides of the Atlantic. In Mexico, for example, she was called “The mexican nightingale”, while in countries like Italy she was called “Angelica di voce e di nome”, which means: “Angelica of voice and name.”
Angela Peralta, Mexican soprano to whom Google pays tribute in its doodle of this July 6, was an iconic singer who for 20 years conquered the main European stages and even became the first Mexican to perform at the famous La Scala Theater in Milan.
She was born on June 6, 1845 in Mexico City, to be exact, on now Aldaco Street in the Las Vizcainas neighborhood. From the age of eight the talent of her voice was evident and his presentation of “Belisario” by Gaetano Donizetti opened the doors for her to win a scholarship and study at the National Conservatory of Music.
According to the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), Ángela Peralta was the “Top star of Mexican singing” of the time, who among her teachers had Agustín Balderas, member of the jury of the Contest to musicalize the National Anthem, and Petro Lampertti.
The true debut of the young woman was at 15 years old, when she appeared at the Grand National Theater interpreting to Leonora from “El Troubador de Verdi” and the fame that would accompany her until the day of her death began to take root.
Ángela Peralta appeared in a large number of places, including Turin, Genoa, Naples, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Cairo, Alexandria, Saint Petersburg, New York, Havana and several Mexican cities.
May 13, 1862, the soprano made history with her incredible performance at the Scala Theater in Milan, where she performed “Lucia de Lammermoor”. By the end had to go on stage 32 times to thank the ovations of the moved attendees.
This singer also appeared before the kings Victor Manuel II, his wife and even before Pope Pius IX himself, who, they say, told her: “This is how it is sung in paradise, I can now die in peace because I already knew how the angels sing on the lintels of glory.”
Her fame was so great that by 1871 Maximilian of Habsburg and Charlotte, who ruled what is now Mexico, they organized their return to the capital where she was born so they can hear her sing.
A very short life, but also very intense is the one lived by Ángela Peralta , the most outstanding Mexican opera singer of the 19th century. The precocity with which he approached singing allowed him to train abroad, make three European tours and marry twice in just 38 years of life. Despite her humble status and indigenous ancestry , she knew how to overcome the prejudices of an exclusive activity of the upper classes, take advantage of the gift for singing and dedicate herself to it with passion, opening the doors for many women who followed her career.
The expressive timbre of her voice and the sonorities that the young Angela was able to achieve opened the doors to her musical training and language learning. At the age of 16, she made his debut at La Scala in Milan and triumphed to the point of having to go out and say hello 32 times.
She was known by her followers as The Mexican Nightingale , while in Italy they called her “Angelica di voce e di nome” (Angelica by voice and by name). Such was Peralta’s international fame that the Mexican emperor Maximilian I named her Cantante de Cámara del Impero. However, aside from her bel canto gifts, Angela also stood out as an accomplished harpist and composer as well, with numerous romantic pieces, including gallops, dances, fantasies and waltzes.
In the last years of his short life she even formed his own opera company and it can be said that she met his death almost on stage, since yellow fever killed him and 75 members of his company in Mazatlan, while they were on tour and when his accommodation was on the upper floors of the Rubio Theater.
María de los Ángeles Manuela Tranquilina Cirila Efrena Peralta, later known simply as Ángela Peralta , was born in Mexico City on July 6, 1845. Of indigenous descent and from a very humble family, she worked as a servant as a child to help the family economy. The first displays of art and talent were offered at the age of eight, when he appeared in public for the first time performing a Donizetti song . The good impression that she always caused in her performances allowed her to study at the National Conservatory of Music and debut in opera at the age of 15, playing the character of Leonore in Il Trovatore , by Verdi, at the National Theater in Mexico City.
A year later, at the age of 16, she undertook his first trip to Europe. Accompanied by her father, she came to Italy to perfect her singing studies. She made her debut at La Scala in Milan on May 13, 1862, with the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor . The young Angela also played the role of Amina in Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula before King Victor Emmanuel II at the Teatro Regio in Turin. For three years she remained on tour, singing in Rome, Naples, Florence, Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona, as well as in Russia and even Egypt.
The success of the critics and the public contrasted with his personal loneliness, in full adolescence, and while the French invasion was being fought in his country. At the end of 1865 Ángela Peralta returned to Mexico in response to the invitation to sing before Emperor Maximilian who, after listening to her, was so amazed that she named her Chamber Singer of the Empire. Taking advantage of this recognition, he toured the country with presentations in Guanajuato, León and San Francisco del Rincón, even opening the Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Theater -today Degollado Theater- in Guadalajara.
Throughout her career, Peralta was known for her interpretations of Donizetti’s Lucia , which she sang 166 times, as well as for the character of Bellini’s Amina, with which she recorded 122 performances. She also garnered praise with Verdi’s tragic Violeta in La Traviata , as Adina in Donizetti’s comedy L’Elisir d’Amore , with Bellini’s Norma, and with Verdi’s Aida.
In 1867, at the age of 21, she traveled to Europe again before the imminent fall of the Mexican empire. He made stops in Havana and New York and performed on the most important stages in Italy and Spain. In the capital of Spain she married his first cousin and writer Eugenio Castera, something frowned upon by society at the time and which contributed to his professional decline and having to dedicate himself to composing small pieces.
After four and a half years, Ángela Peralta returned to her hometown in May 1871. In Mexico City, she premiered the opera Guatemotzin , by Aniceto Ortega de Villar, at the National Theater of Mexico. That year she also became a businesswoman by forming her own operatic company.
In 1872 she made a third tour of Europe. She began his presentations again in Italy and lasted for five years. In 1876 her husband’s illness forced her to stop her tour in Paris and admit him to a hospital, where she died a few months later. After a time of mourning Ángela Peralta returned to Mexico in 1877, dedicating herself to promoting opera in the country. She performed Aida , by Verdi , at the National Theater, organized the premiere of the Requiem , by the same Italian author and the opera Gino Corsini , by Melesio Morales.
Then came to light the love affair that she had undertaken on his last European tour with his administrator and writer Julián Montiel Duarte. This situation separated him from the favor of the public, although she continued with brilliant performances in leading theaters in the country. At this time, her lover published Ángela Peralta’s Musical Album , with 15 compositions by the singer.
Ángela Peralta performed in Querétaro, Celaya, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí and Morelia, at the Progreso Theater in Monterrey, in Saltillo, Durango and in La Paz. Arriving in Mazatlán, she performed Il trovatore and Aida , but fell victim to an epidemic of fulminant yellow fever , an almost incurable disease in those times.
On her deathbed, Ángela married her eternal lover Julián Montiel, and died on August 30, 1883 at the age of 38 on the upper floors of the Rubio Theater, where she was staying. His mortal remains were transferred to the Rotunda of Illustrious Persons in April 1937, where they rest today.
The theaters of the cities of Mazatlán and San Miguel de Allende bear her name in memory of the most important soprano in Mexico, since Peralta was the first woman to open the doors of opera in the country and also to lead Mexico to the most important stages in the world interpreting the characters of the most famous operas.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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