Artist Profile: Pilar Lorengar, A Legendary Spanish Soprano

By David Salazar

Spanish soprano Pilar Lorengar was born on Jan. 15, 1928 in Zaragoza, Spain.

Per The Independent, she “had one of the most beautiful voices heard in the post-war years. Creamy-toned and perfectly placed, her voice remained firm and youthful in timbre for more than 30 years.”

From an early age, she was involved in performance, appearing on the radio program “Ondas Infantiles.” She moved to Barcelona to study at the local conservatory and would then head to Madrid to continue her studies. She became a member of the chorus at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1949 and in 1950, she made her professional debut in Algeria in the role of Maruxa. Her Spanish debut in a principal role came in “El Canastillo de Fresas” and in 1952, she was soloing in symphonic works by Beethoven and Brahms.

In 1955, she headed over to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence where she appeared as Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro.” In 1958, she signed a contract with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, one of the most essential companies in her career. In 1961, she debuted at the Salzburg Festival and would go on to perform at such venues as the Met Opera, Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Opéra de Paris, among others.

She announced her retirement in 1991 with a concert at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo, Spain. She died on June 2, 1996, from cancer.

Signature Roles

The operas of Mozart, especially “Don Giovanni” and “Le Nozze di Figaro,” were major parts of her career, though Lorengar would eventually add heavier roles to her repertory as her voice matured.

The role of Violetta in “La Traviata” is one of her staples and she made her Royal Opera House debut as the Verdi heroine. In later years, she also added roles by Puccini and Wagner.

She was also a major champion of Zarzuela throughout her career, recording an album alongside Plácido Domingo in 1985; this album earned her and Domingo a Grammy Nomination each.

Read More on Lorengar

A Look At Operas Roles She Shared With Fellow Birthday Girl Katia Ricciarelli

Watch and Listen

Here is an album featuring a number of her major roles.

And here are more greatest hits from the soprano.


Opera Wiki