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Teresa Berganza

Teresa Berganza

Teresa Berganza 1957.jpg
Berganza in 1957
Teresa Berganza Vargas

(1933-03-16) 16 March 1933 (age 88)
  • Opera singer
  • teacher
Years active1955–present
(m. 1957⁠–⁠1977)

Teresa Berganza Vargas OAXS (born 16 March 1933) is a Spanish mezzo-soprano. She is most closely associated with the roles of Rossini, Mozart, and Bizet. She is admired for her technical virtuosity, musical intelligence, and beguiling stage presence.


Teresa Berganza during a master class in May 2009

Teresa Berganza was born in Madrid. She studied piano and voice at the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where she was awarded first prize for singing in 1954. She made her concert debut in Madrid in 1955.

Berganza made her operatic debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte in 1957 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. That same year, she made her La Scala debut and the following year her debut at Glyndebourne. In 1959, Berganza made her first appearances at the Covent Garden Royal Opera House as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, which became one of her signature roles. In 1967, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro.

As a recitalist, Berganza made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1964. Her concert repertoire includes Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Russian songs. From 1957 to 1977, Berganza was married to the composer and pianist Félix Lavilla, with whom she recorded and performed regularly and with whom she has three children, including soprano Cecilia Lavilla Berganza. During the 1980s, Teresa herself was found to have been admired by Arthur Richard Jackson, the Scottish drifter who attempted to murder American actress Theresa Saldana in 1982.

Berganza shared the 1991 Prince of Asturias Award for arts and letters with six other Spanish singers. She also won the Grand Prix Rossini.

In 1992, Berganza participated in the opening ceremonies of Expo '92 in Seville and the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In 1994, she became the first woman elected to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. In 1996, she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Música. She currently teaches singing at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, continues to perform music of Spanish composers, and gives master classes all over the world. Her students have included María Bayo and Jorge Chaminé.

Berganza received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 International Opera Awards.


Teresa Berganza has appeared in nine motion pictures, including Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1972, as Zerlina in Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni in 1979, and both Werther and Carmen in 1980.


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