Victoria De Los Ángeles was one of the great sopranos of the 20th century, taking on a wide range of roles from “Madama Butterfly” to “La Bohème,” to “Manon.” Born on Nov. 1, 1923, the Spanish soprano would go on to a tremendous career, her recording of Puccini’s “La Bohème” under Sir Thomas Beecham widely considered the greatest of the opera. She also took a stab at interpreting “Carmen,” famously recording the opera with Nicolai Gedda.
But she also made a wide range of unique recordings, her repertoire stretching beyond the tried and true. She was a massive proponent of Zarzuela and her legacy bears this out. Here is a look at some of the rarer and yet just as essential De Los Ángeles recordings.
La Vida Breve
The soprano was a massive proponent of De Falla’s opera, singing it with the BBC in 1948, when her career was still getting started. She then went on to record it in 1952 and again in 1965, the latter recording famous for her collaboration with conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
Not an opera, but this set of folk songs by Joseph Canteloube is widely considered among the soprano’s greatest output on the recorded medium. She recorded near the end of her career. She was accompanied by Jean-Pierre Jacquillat and the Orchestre des Concerts Lamoreux.
De Los Ángeles, true to her roots, recorded a set of Catalan Songs late in her career, accompanied by Geoffrey Parson at Abbey Road Studios. It includes a whopping 29 pieces in its running time. Here is the first of those, “El Cant del Ocells.”
Villas Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras 1,2,5,9
In keeping with the theme of exploring often neglected repertoire, De Los Ángeles’ collaboration with the famed composer is among another one of her noted achievements. This set is often overlooked in the soprano’s great output, but it is not to be missed or ignored and showcases her ability to move about with ease from one style to another.