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María Barrientos was a Spanish opera singer, a light coloratura soprano, one of the most outstanding of her time

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María Barrientos was a Spanish opera singer, a light coloratura soprano, one of the most outstanding of her time.
Biographical synthesis
She was born in Barcelona on March 10, 1883. Her voice, not excessively large, enjoyed such an excellent timbre and projection that it immediately made her one of the most sought-after sopranos of the moment.

Beginnings as an artist
Maria Barrientos received a complete musical education in piano and violin. He began his singing studies at the Barcelona Municipal School of Music. The vocal studies were with Francisco Bonet. In 1898 when she was fifteen, she debuted at the Victoria Theater in Barcelona with the role of Agnes in Meyerbeer's La Africana, quickly followed by the role of Margarita de Valois in The Huguenots.

He perfected his studies in Milan where in 1900 he sang at La Scala, as the starting point of his brilliant career. There is a legend, never proven, about a previous musical apprenticeship that would include conducting a symphony composed by her, with only twelve years old, as a final exam at the Barcelona conservatory.

She was a singer who stood out for her excellent timbre and projection, which made her one of the most requested sopranos of her time. His career was momentarily interrupted in 1907 by his marriage to Argentina's Jorge Keen and the birth of a son. The union, however, was not happy and she returned to the stage in 1909.

The singer was invited by the most important European opera houses, singing at the Scala in Milan with Dinorah de Meyerbeer, at Covent Garden in London, in the role of Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, among others. He soon jumped to America where he debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York with Donizetti's opera Lucia de Lammermoor on January 31, 1916, achieving great successes.

In this last theater he starred in the premiere of the play The Golden Cockerel by Rimski-korsakov with the role of The Queen of Shemaja. Also in South America, especially at the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires, it was where he had his greatest triumphs and reaped his fortune. Between 1916 and 1924 he sang the entire romantic repertoire for light soprano.

He continued to appear on stage with typical coloratura roles, such as Amina in La somnambul and Il Matrimonio Segreto by Cimarosa, Gilda in Rigoletto by Verdi, Lakmé in the eponymous opera by Leo Delibes, Elvira in Los puritanos by Bellini or Adina in El Elisir d'amore, until 1924 when he moved to Argentina, where he said goodbye to his audience.

Since then, she limited herself to giving recitals, and stood out as an admired interpreter of songs in French and Spanish. Thus in 1930 she was personally chosen by María Falla to interpret the Seven Spanish songs and Soneto a Córdoba, accompanied on Manuel de Falla's piano in some songs including El Paño Moruno. He founded an annual award at the Barcelona Municipal School of Music so that students could perfect their singing studies abroad.

He also made numerous concert tours, especially in France and South America, where he made a good part of his career and his fortune. She was almost idolized in Argentina, she and Claudia Muzio are two unforgettable characters in the Argentine operatic tradition.

This outstanding Spanish artist dies on August 8, 1946 in Ciboure, France.

AuthorMATEOS, M.
YearCa. 1900
Support measures12x8
CountrySpain - Catalonia
ConservationGood - contrasted