Google Doodle celebrated Mexican opera singer Ángela Peralta on her 175th birth aniversary on July 6. The celebrated singer, dubbed the “Mexican Nightingale”, was also a pianist, harpist, and composer, and deemed one of the most consequential artists of the country.
Peralta was born on July 6, 1845, in Mexico City, and her soprano career reportedly skyrocketed at the tender age of eight following her solo rendition of a cavatina (an aria) from the Italian opera “Belisario,” Newsweek reported.
Peralta was inspired to groom and nurture her talent in Italy, after having made her opera debut at age 15 at one of Mexico’s top opera houses of the 19th century. According to Google, her performance at the Gran Teatro Nacional was critically acclaimed.
Later, she was also well-received in Italy, garnering standing ovations in Milan for her performance of the romantic opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” in 1862. Her performance brought the opera singer back to the stage a whopping 23 times, per Newsweek.
Peralta subsequently garnered international attention and went on to perform at some of the most premium opera houses in Europe and the United States. Mastering the bel canto, a lyrical operatic singing style, she was quickly dubbed the “Mexican Nightingale.” The soprano’s career was most active from 1865 to 1875, when she reportedly toured Mexico, Europe, and also performed in the Cuban capital of Havana.
Peralta returned to Mexico City in 1871, and her homecoming was marked by a grand performance at the Gran Teatro Nacional. She was joined at the time by famed Italian tenor Enrico Tamberlick, who also sang with her in another Mexican opera, “Guatimotzín” by Aniceto Ortega del Villar.
The soprano would go on to found her own opera company, playing the lead in its first Mexican production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida”. However, the performer was later shunned in Mexico City after being linked with her manager, Julián Montiel y Duarte, following the death of her husband in 1877. She was forced to move her company to the remote parts of Mexico, such as the coastal city of Mazatlán, where she marked her final tour in 1883, according to Newsweek.
In 2008, a Mazatlán opera-lover and journalist who had watched Peralta rehearsing in the Teatro Rubio on 22 August 1883 was quoted in the Gaxiola Aldana. “She is a woman with an agreeable presence, slightly obese, with bulging but very lively eyes,” they reportedly wrote in their diary read, adding, “she has a wonderful voice that produces notes from the very highest to the lowest with astounding ease; she sang several variations with such delicate notes, like the trill of a goldfinch…”
Peralta succumbed to yellow fever and died in Mazatlán at the age of 38. The singing legend’s legacy is said to be preserved in the city, where an opera house was named in her memory. The Ángela Peralta Theater, just off Plaza Machado, was constructed between 1869 and 1874. Boasting a 1,300-plus capacity, the theater was a thriving cultural hub for almost a century, according to travel guidebook Lonely Planet.
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