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Renata Tebaldi has died at the age of 82
The world-renowned Italian soprano, Renata Tebaldi, has died at the age of 82. Stricken with polio at the age of three, she was unable to take part in more strenuous activities, and instead became interested in music. The conductor Arturo Toscanini, who discovered her talent, once said she had "the voice of an angel", says ABC News. The opera singer died at her home in San Marino, a tiny, independent republic in north-central Italy, after a long illness, said her physician, Dr. Niksa Simetovic. "Farewell, Renata, your memory and your voice will be etched on my heart forever," tenor Luciano Pavarotti said yesterday, quoted by the ANSA news agency. In all, Tebaldi made 270 performances at the Met, invited back season after season as one of the opera house's most popular singers. The Met's late general manager Rudolf Bing called her "dimples of iron," a reference to a sweet appearance that belied an iron will. For years, opera fans devoured details of what they perceived as a prima donna duel between Tebaldi and Maria Callas, reports New York Daily News. In any event, rumours of bad blood were dispelled once and for all when, in September 1968, Callas went backstage after a performance to warmly congratulate Tebaldi. The two sopranos posed for photographers and embraced, with Callas, who died in 1977, close to tears. Tebaldi's career also had its downs. She had trouble with her vocal cords after convincing the director of the Metropolitan to stage for the 1962-63 season a revival of Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, which had not been put on since the turn of the century. Alarmed at her lack of form, Tebaldi took a 13-month break from singing in 1963, but returned to perform the role of Mimi to great acclaim, only finally retiring from the stage in 1973 and the concert hall in 1976, informs The Australian.
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