|Year of Birth:||1909|
|Year of Death:||2014|
Licia Albanese (July 22, 1909 – August 15, 2014) was an Italian-born American operatic soprano. Noted especially for her portrayals of the lyric heroines of Verdi and Puccini, Albanese was a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera from 1940 to 1966. She also made many recordings and was chairwoman of The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting young artists and singers.
Felicia Albanese was born in Noicàttaro, today part of Torre a Mare, a quarter of Bari, Italy, in 1909. She made her unofficial debut in Milan in 1934, when she replaced another soprano in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, the role for which she would be celebrated. Over 40 years, she sang more than 300 performances of Cio-Cio-San. Although she has been praised for many of her roles, including Mimì, Violetta, Liù and Manon Lescaut, it is her portrayal of the geisha which has remained her best known. Her connection with that work began early with her teacher, Giuseppina Baldassare-Tedeschi, a contemporary of the composer, and an important exponent of the title role in the previous generation.
There is some controversy regarding when she made her formal debut. It was either in that same year (1934) at the Teatro Municipale in Bari, singing in La bohème, or in Parma, or in Milan in 1935 in Madama Butterfly. By the end of that year, she had debuted at La Scala as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. She soon realized great success all over the world, especially for her performances in Carmen, L'amico Fritz and Madama Butterfly in Italy, France and England.