Victoria de los Ángeles

Born: 1923
Died: 2005

Born in Barcelona, where she studied, de los Ángeles made her debut as Mimì. Her repertoire would range from Mozart to the lighter Wagner roles with many French and Italian works along the way. A wonderful recitalist, she oozed charm and invariably championed song in her native tongue. Her discography is extensive and, in the 1950s and ’60s, when in her prime, her voice was an instrument of extraordinary beauty.

Tribute by Graham Johnson

Our rehearsals in Barcelona began with me playing El majo tímido by Granados with the kind of generic rubato that British musicians consider aptly Spanish: ‘You poor boy, what are you doing?’ interrupted Victoria in her beautifully inflected English ‘This song is Castillian, not from Andalusia!’ In accompanying her matchless performances of her largely undervalued patrimony – Spanish songs from five centuries – I was her awed and grateful apprentice; her performances of Lieder and French mélodies were enchanting, sincerity easily trouncing convention. She was a superb recitalist, and her operatic recorded legacy remains legendary: Charlotte, Manon, Marguérite, Mélisande, an immortal Mimì, two Butterflys and a Carmen without vulgarity. Her purity of voice and spirit, and her instinctive musical intelligence, exemplified Spanish culture at its most refined. The audiences who adored her were not deceived in their devoted allegiance: on stage and off, Victoria de los Ángeles was truly ‘of the angels’ – an adorable person with a heavenly voice, and a very great artist. 

Recommended recording

Bizet Carmen

Beecham

Warner Classics

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