Licia Albanese, Italian-born Opera soprano, dies at age 105

By Daniel S Levine,

Licia Albanese, an acclaimed Opera singer, has died. The Italian-born soprano was 105-years-old.

She died on Friday at her Manhattan home, her son, Joseph Gimma, confirmed to the New York Times on Monday.

“My mom had a wonderful, wonderful life and great career,” Gimma told Reuters.

Albanese began performing professionally in her native Italy in the 1930s. She moved to the U.S. just as World War II began and reached the height of her profession here with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She performed in over 400 productions just between 1940 and 1946.

Although she performed works by a variety of composers, she is best known for her performing Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi works. She sang the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly over 300 times. She performed La Traviata by Verdi 90 times.

Albanese went on to perform with the San Francisco Opera for two decades and received the National Medal of Honor for the Arts from President Bill Clinton in 1995.

She was known for her incredible longevity. She nurtured her voice, avoiding heavy works like those by Wagner, keeping her voice strong into her old age and continued performing occasionally, even after her retirement.

Albanese, one of the last remaining singers of her time, will be buried in a private ceremony on Thursday.

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