Obituary: Legendary Mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza Passes at 89

By David Salazar

Legendary mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza has passed away. She was 89.

Born on March 16, 1933, Berganza started off her musical journey studying piano (she also studied cello and organ, among other instruments) and voice at the Madrid Conservatory, where won the first prize for singing in 1954. A year later, she made her concert debut.

In 1957, Berganza made her opera debut at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in “Così Fan Tutte” and also debuted at Teatro alla Scala. From there, she would go on to perform at Glyndebourne, the Dallas Opera (alongide Maria Callas in “Medea”) the Royal Opera House, and the Metropolitan Opera. In 1959, she debuted at the Vienna State Opera in “Le Nozze di Figaro” under Herbert von Karajan.

She retired from the stage in 2008.

Her repertory would focus heavily on Italian Opera as well as Spanish song and zarzuela. In 1991, she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award and was also the recipient of the Grand Prix Rossini, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 International Opera Awards, and the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts from Spain.  Berganza also became the first woman elected into the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. She is also set to be named “Hija Predilecta” of Madrid.