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, including stints at Louisiana State University, UCLA, University of Delaware, Wilberforce University, the International Sommerakademie-Mozarteum in Salzburg and Indiana University. She has given master classes nationally and internationally, and judged several competitions including the George London Competition and the Tchaikovsky International Competition. With Dr. Willard L. Boyd, former President of the University of Iowa, she co-authored the "Task Force Report on Music Education in the U.S." In 1976, she was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the National Council of the Arts in Washington, D.C. She founded the Martina Arroyo Foundation, which is dedicated to the development of emerging young opera singers by immersing them in complete role preparation courses. She is also active on the Boards of Trustees of Hunter College and Carnegie Hall. 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
Peace, peace, my God!
Cruel misfortune, alas, constrains me to languish;
Deep as on the first day, for so many years
My suffering has endured.
Peace, peace, my God!
I loved him, it's true! But God adorned him so much
With beauty and courage,
That I still love him, nor will I be able to remove
His image from my heart.
Fate! Fate! Fate!
A crime has separated us in this world!
Alvaro, I love you, and it is written above in heaven:
I will never see you again!
O God, God, make me die;
Since only death can give me calm.
In vain my soul hoped for peace here,
While prey to such grief.
Wretched bread . . . come prolong
My comfort-less life . . . But who is approaching?
Who dares to profane the sacred place?
Let them be accursed!
A link to this wonderful artists personal Website:
I send my kind and warm regards,