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Teresa Berganza

Composers

Biography

Born: March 16, 1935; Madrid, Spain  
Mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza's career always had something of a Spanish flavor to it, even though she excelled in Mozart and Rossini roles and other elements of the traditional repertory. She consistently championed Spanish music, from zarzuela (the Spanish musical theater genre), to the songs of Granados and Falla. She also sang the title role of Carmen frequently, bringing her own unique sense of the character (as well as extensive research, Read more much of it in Spain, observing Spanish gypsy women) to both stage and recordings. A musician of unusual breadth and ability, Berganza was an accomplished pianist and organist, and even studied conducting and composition. Her voice, which had an impressive upper extension, managed to cross boundaries as well: in 1960 she was offered the role of Violetta -- a mainstay of the soprano repertory -- in Verdi's La traviata at La Scala in Milan.

Berganza studied at the Madrid Conservatory, under Lola Rodriguez Aragon, who herself studied with Elisabeth Schumann. She credits her teacher with the complete process of her development, from a raw talent to a polished artist; throughout her career, she continued to study with Aragon, developing interpretations or working out minor vocal problems. Berganza made her professional debut in 1956 at the Madrid Athenaeum in Schumann's song cycle Frauenliebe und -Leben, and made her operatic debut at the Aix-in-Provence Festival as Dorabella in Così fan tutte. She made her Glyndebourne debut in 1958 as Cherubino.

In the same year, she made her U.S. debut in Dallas, singing the comprimario role of Neris in a production of Medea. The Medea was Maria Callas, and Berganza later declared that she never learned as much about musical drama and stage discipline as from Callas, who treated her "like a younger sister," even insisting that Berganza be allowed to portray Neris as a young woman close to Medea's own age, rather than an older, matronly figure, as was customary. Berganza made her Covent Garden debut as Rosina in 1960; throughout the 1960s and early 1970s she sang mostly Rossini and Mozart. She made her Met debut as Cherubino in 1967.

Berganza first sang Carmen in 1977, and described it later as a deeply liberating experience -- personally as well as musically. In preparing the role, she visited Seville to observe gypsy women, read the original novel by Prosper Merimee, and studied the score deeply. She developed her own perceptions of Carmen: she was a free spirit within a restrictive culture, but far from being a prostitute or a tramp, and even possessing a certain sweetness. While many critics applauded her presentation, others found it lacking in blood and guts -- too "ladylike." (Berganza countered this with her observation that, far from being the flamboyant, hand-on-the-hip, promiscuous creatures of popular thinking, real Spanish gypsy women in fact follow a fairly rigid standard of decorum.) She brought the same kind of original thinking to the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and in the famous Joseph Losey film, she sang her as a fully mature and sensual young woman, rather than a simple and bedazzled girl.

Berganza was also a prominent recitalist, specializing in Spanish song. Among her recordings, her Rosina (one of the most beautiful on record), and her collection of Spanish songs on Claves are both outstanding. Read less
Bizet: Carmen / Abbado, Berganza, Domingo, Cotrubas, Et Al
Release Date: 03/08/2005   Label: Dg The Originals  
Catalog: 000402902   Number of Discs: 2
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Rossini: La Cenerentola / Abbado, Berganza, Alva, Capecchi
Release Date: 11/14/2006   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 000768302   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart: La Finta Semplice / Hager, Donath, Ihloff, Berganza
Release Date: 05/23/1995   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 85843   Number of Discs: 3
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Penella: El Gato Montés / Roa, Domingo, Berganza, Pons
Release Date: 10/13/1992   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 435776   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro / Mehta, Bruscantini, Berganza
Release Date: 08/25/1998   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1161   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 126-136 of 136 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Penella: El Gato Montés / Roa, Domingo, Berganza, Pons
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435776 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Manuel Penella
    Performer:  Ricardo Muñiz,  Teresa Berganza,  Placido Domingo,  Lorenzo Jiménez  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Roa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Symphony Orchestra,  Escolania de Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo
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  • 127.
    Handel: Alcina / Sutherland, Berganza, Freni, Sinclair
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 4337232 Release Date: 10/01/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Mirella Freni,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Ezio Flagello  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 128.
    Duruflé: Requiem, Four Motets / Corboz, Berganza, Van Dam
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45230 Release Date: 02/03/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Duruflé
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  José Van Dam
    Conductor:  Michel Corboz,  Jean Sourisse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Chorus,  Audite Nova Vocal Ensemble
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  • 129.
    More Amore - The Great Italian Love Duets
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 46705 Release Date: 01/18/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Adriana Morelli,  Placido Domingo,  Richard Tucker,  Eileen Farrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fausto Cleva,  James Levine,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 130.
    Bizet: Carmen / Abbado, Berganza, Domingo, Cotrubas, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419636 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Ileana Cotrubas,  Yvonne Kenny,  Alicia Nafé,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus
    CD not available
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  • 131.
    J. Strauss: Die Fledermaus / Karajan, Güden, Kmentt, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421046 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Erich Kunz,  Eberhard Wächter,  Regina Resnik  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    CD not available
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  • 132.
    Falla: Three Cornered Hat, El Amor Brujo / Ozawa, Berganza
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 429181 Release Date: 11/01/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza
    Conductor:  Luis Garcia-Navarro,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 133.
    Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Sinopoli, Freni, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423567 Release Date: 09/12/1989   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Juan Pons,  Anthony Laciura,  Mark Curtis  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 134.
    Puccini: Madama Butterfly Highlights / Freni, Carreras, Sinopoli
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427358 Release Date: 06/12/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  José Carreras,  Teresa Berganza,  Juan Pons  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 135.
    Pergolesi: Stabat Mater, Etc;  A Scarlatti: Concerti Grossi
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 427123 Release Date: 12/01/1988   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Teresa Berganza
    Conductor:  Ettore Gracis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alessandro Scarlatti Orchestra
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  • 136.
    Falla: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain, La Vida Breve, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 4177712 Release Date: 08/25/1988   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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