Obituary: Marcella Reale Dies at 84

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano  Marcella Reale has died of COVID-19 at the age of 84.

The American soprano died on Jan. 17, 2021, after having been infected with the coronavirus.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937 to Italian parents, Reale went on to study with Armand Tokatyan and Lotte Lehmann at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich on a Fulbright scholarship.

In 1957 she made her debut in the opera world at the Heidelberg State Theater and in 1959 she made her debut in Essen. In she debuted in Italy at the Teatro Verdi di Trieste and went on to sing in Parma, Naples, and Rome. In 1970 she became the first American to win the “Golden Puccini Award” and went on to become one of the most sought-after Puccini and Verismo singers of her generation.

She would sing “Madama Butterfly” and “Tosca” more than 300 times.

Reale’s career also brought her to the greatest stages including the Greek National Opera and New York City Opera and she performed extensively in San Francisco and Seattle. She also performed in South America and Australia. In 1994, she settled in Japan and became the coordinator of the New National Theatre Tokyo, and taught at various music colleges. In 2017, she returned to the United States.

Throughout her career, the soprano went on to perform with some of the greatest singers of her generation including Mario Del Monaco, Franco Corelli, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Tito Gobbi, Alfredo Kraus, and John Vickers. She also won the “Mario Del Monaco Award” in 1991.

Reale left behind a number of recordings including arias by Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncavallo. She was also featured in the 1955 Oscar-winning film “Interrupted Melody” singing “La Bohème.”

Here are some clips of Reale’s legendary voice.