Ángela Peralta-The Mexican Nightingale

ángela peralta

ángela peralta

Angela Peralta was a wonderful operatic soprano of great renowned fame all over the world during the 19th century in Mexico. She was the leading opera singer in Mexico. She was rightly called the Mexican Nightingale all over the European continent. She was known for her mesmerising, magical voice. She sang operas in some of the major opera houses that belonged to Europe by the age of 20.  Even though she was famous for her great opera singing, she was even a pianist and harpist of a great reputation. 

Let us find more about this great opera star’s:

  • Biography
  • Voice and repertoire
  • Tribute

Biography

  • The most celebrated Forestage and arcade of the Ángela Peralta Theater in Mazatlán -‘Ángela Peralta’ was born to Manuel Peralta and Josefa Castera de Peralta.
  • She was an innately talented singer and musician. At the early age of 8, she had already showcased her talent by singing a cavatina from Belisario by Gaetano Donizetti, a huge success. This was the stepping stone of her singing career.
  • This was only the beginning when she went on to study at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Mexico City. 
  • After completing her study, at the age of fifteen, Angela premiered her operatic debut as ”Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi’s II Trovatore” at the Teatro Nacional in Mexico City. Her father accompanies her, and the show was funded by an affluent sponsor named Santiago de la Vega.
  • Leopardi then taught her singing in Italy.
  • In 1862, on May 13, she performed at La Scala in Milan for the first time with a commended concert of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

ángela peralta

  • The famous Bellini’s La sonnambula was sung by her before King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy at the Teatro Regio in Turin. For this, she received a great honour by 32 curtain calls. 
  • During the years 1863 and 1864, she performed continuously in the well-known opera houses of Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Naples, Lisbon, Bologna, Genoa, St. Petersburg, Alexandria, and Cairo. Consequently, The Second Mexican, invited her to sing in the National Imperial Theatre, and in 1865 she accepted the invitation.
  • She was named “Chamber singer of the Empire” after singing in 1866 before Maximilian I of Mexico and Charlotte of Belgium. In the same year after performing in New York City and Havana in December due to the downfall of the Second Mexican Empire, she returned to Europe.
  • Soon she got married to her cousin named ”Eugenio Castera” in Madrid and paused from singing. However, she constantly worked on composing songs and piano pieces. The Álbum Musical de Ángela Peralta is one of her famous works. Unfortunately, it was found that her husband had a mental health condition, and he was admitted to a mental hospital in Paris, and he died in 1876.
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ángela peralta

Ángela Peralta’s successful rendition

  • She set up her own touring opera company. At the same time, she visited Mexico in 1871, where she sang signature roles like the highly celebrated -Amina in La sonnambula and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor. 
  • Angela sang ”Amina” for 122 and the famous Lucia song a total of 166 times. 
  • She got into an affair with Julián Montiel y Duarte, the Mexican lawyer and entrepreneur. This was treated as a scandal in Mexico City. 
  • This scandal caused people to boycott her performances, and her performances were hindered by some people purposefully. 
  • After singing in Linda di Chamounix, she started rising again, but she never sang in Mexico City again.

Facade of the Teatro Ángela Peralta in downtown Mazatlán

  • Her reputation and economic position were deteriorating in 1883, and then she went on a tour to northern Mexico with her Italian opera singers. 
  • She sang in La Paz on stage for the last time in the theatre, improvised from the disused sandpit.
  • As she arrived along with her troupe on August 22, in the port city of Mazatlán where they had to perform Il Trovatore and Aida, the citizens prepared an elaborate welcome for her.
  • With heavily decorated garlands docking her boat docked at a pier, the singer was greeted by a band playing the Mexican National Anthem. Right after that, when her carriage arrived, her huge number of admirers unfastened the horses and pulled it themselves to the Hotel Iturbide. At this place, she once again saluted the crowds from her balcony.
  • After this incident, sadly, she and 76 of the troupe’s 80 members got affected by a yellow fever epidemic that swept the city shortly after their arrival.
  • Ángela Peralta married her lover Julián Montiel y Duarte on her deathbed before she died in the Hotel Iturbide in Mazatlán at the age of 38 on 30 August 1883. 
  •  It was a sad occasion as one of the singers from her company, Lemus, supported her by the shoulders. When asked if she took Montiel y Duarte as her husband, Lemus moved her head to make it appear that she was nodding her assent.
  • According to an eyewitness account of the marriage ceremony, she was already unconscious when it occurred.
  • Her body was buried after dressing her up in one of her best costumes and jewels in Rotonda de Hombres Ilustres (the Rotunda of Illustrious People) in Mexico City’s Panteón de Dolores.
  • The theatres of Mazatlán and San Miguel de Allende have theatres named in her honour.
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Voice and repertoire

Angela was a slightly obese woman with very lively bulging eyes and had a wonderful voice. She could sing notes from highest to the lowest variations.

Peralta’s wide-ranging repertoire included: 

  • Leonora in Il trovatore
  • Violetta in La traviata 
  • Elvira in I puritani 
  • Marie in La fille du régiment
  • Amina in La sonnambula
  • Adina in L’elisir d’amore

She played the title roles in:

  • Aida
  • Dinorah
  • Linda di Chamounix
  • Maria di Rohan
  • Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Norma

With the help of three Mexican composers (Ildegonda (1866) and Gino Corsini (1877) by Melesio Morales, and Guatimotzin (1871) by Aniceto Ortega del Villar), she also created the leading female roles in three operas.

Tribute

A Tribute was made On July 6, 2021, when Google celebrated her 175th birthday with a Google Doodle.