Martina Arroyo’s Greatest Career Achievements

By David Salazar

Martina Arroyo is one of the great sopranos of the 20th century. Even after her singing career, she has managed to carve out an exemplary career that continues to serve the opera world in major ways.

Born on Feb. 2, 1936, Arroyo was born in New York where she would grow up exposed to the vast culture of New York. She would be inspired at a young age to take on a career of singing and the young Arroyo would find herself well on the way to stardom by attending Hunter College. Later on, she would start to study under Marinka Gurewich and eventually she would grow into her own and eventually turn into the superstar we all know today.

Here is a look at some of Arroyo’s great achievements throughout a career that was more than just singing.

Carnegie Opener

The soprano’s first-ever professional appearance in an opera came on Sept. 17, 1958, in Carnegie Hall. That’s right. The opera in question? Pizzetti’s “Murder in the Cathedral.” Arroyo received this notice from the New York Times: “Martina Arroyo is a gifted soprano who appears to have remarkable potential, and she sang with a voice of amplitude and lovely color.”

Met Opera Debut Plus

The soprano auditioned for the company early in her career and was rejected. But she eventually got a chance to make amends by debuting as the Celestial Voice in “Don Carlo” on March 14, 1959 and would go on to have a storied career with the company. In sum, she took on close to 200 performances between her debut and 1986. Her most popular roles there included “Aida,” Amelia from “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Leonora from “Il Trovatore,” and Leonora from “La Forza del Destino.” The Met would be the company with which she was most associated throughout her legendary career.


After a successful performance career, Arroyo turned to teaching, giving classes at such universities as Louisiana State University, UCLA, University of Delaware, Wilberforce University, Indiana University, and many others. She also gave masterclasses nationally and served as Judge on a number of competitions.

Martina Arroyo Foundation 

Arroyo founded the Foundation with the intent of developing emerging artists and aiding them in preparing new roles as they move on in their respective careers. The Foundation is extremely active and Arroyo remains an active presence in her 80s.



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