Martina Arroyo (born February 2, 1937) is an operatic soprano of Puerto Rican and African-American descent who had a major international opera career during the 1960s through the 1980s. She was part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world. Arroyo first rose to prominence at the Zurich Opera between 1963--1965, after which she was one of the Metropolitan Opera's leading sopranos between 1965 and 1978. During her years at the Metropolitan Opera she was also a regular presence at the world's best opera houses, performing on the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Colón, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna State Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera to name just a few. She is best known for her performances of the Italian spinto repertoire and in particular her portrayals of Verdi and Puccini heroines. Her last opera performance was in 1991, after which she has devoted her time to teaching singing on the faculties of various universities in the United States and Europe. Having performed in the major opera houses and with the greatest symphony orchestras of the world, she has left a legacy of recordings, including: Handel's Judas Maccabeus (twice) and Samson, Mozart's Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira for Karl Böhm and Donna Anna for Sir Colin Davis), Beethoven's Missa solemnis and Ninth Symphony, Rossini's Stabat mater, Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino (in both the St. Peterburg and revised versions), and the Messa da requiem and Mahler's massive Eighth Symphony (the Symphony of a Thousand). She has also recorded important 20th century music, including Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder and Carlo Franci's African Oratorio and two works she "created" in their world premieres: Karlheinz Stockhausen's Momente and Samuel Barber's Andromache's Farewell. Arroyo's discography (which also includes an aria recital), though enviable, does not encompass anything like the full range of roles she essayed onstage. At the Metropolitan Opera alone, these are the operas she performed but never recorded commercially: Verdi's Ernani, Macbeth, Il trovatore, Don Carlos (the Celestial Voice as well as Elizabeth, both in Italian), and ; Wagner's Lohengrin and Der Ring des Nibelungen (featured roles in all four operas); Ponchielli's La Gioconda; Giordano's Andrea Chénier; and Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Turandot (as Liù; she played the title role in Toronto). Since her official retirement from singing in 1989 Martina Arroyo has amassed significant teaching credits. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. She was candid about her perceived status as second-best to her great contemporary, fellow African-American spinto Leontyne Price; once, when a Met doorman greeted her as "Miss Price", she sweetly replied, "No, honey: I'm the other one."...
Lyrics & English Translation
In this palace, thousands of years ago,
a desperate cry rang out.
And that cry, passing down the generations
found refuge here in my soul!
sweet and serene ancestress, you who reigned
in your deep silence in pure joy
and defied, unyielding and confident,
the harsh domination (of men),
today you live again in me!
(It was when the King of the Tartars unfurled his seven banners.)
And yet in the time that everyone remembers,
there was dismay and terror and the roar of arms.
The kingdom was conquered!
And Lo-u-Ling, my ancestress, dragged away
by a man like you, like you,
stranger, there in the terrible night
where her young voice was stifled!
(For ages she has slept in her vast tomb.)
O Princes, who in long caravans
from every part of the world
come here to try your fortune,
I avenge upon you, upon you
that purity, that cry and that death!
No man will ever possess me!
Horror of the man who killed her
remains alive in my heart.
No, no! No man will ever possess me!
Ah, in me is reborn the pride
of such great chastity!
Stranger! Do not tempt fortune!
The riddles are three, death is one!
A link to this wonderful artists personal Website:
I send my kind and warm regards,