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Licia Albanese, Exalted Soprano, Is Dead at 105
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Licia Albanese, Exalted Soprano, Is Dead at 105

By MARGALIT FOX   AUG. 16, 2014

Licia Albanese, an Italian-born soprano whose veneration by audiences worldwide was copious even by the standards of operatic adulation, died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 105.

Her son, Joseph Gimma, confirmed her death.

After making her debut in Europe in the 1930s, Miss Albanese (her name is pronounced LEECH-ya al-buh-NAY-zay) went on to become one of the most admired sopranos of the mid-20th century. She had a long association with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she sang in more than 400 productions from 1940 to 1966.

Miss Albanese was what is called a lirico-spinto soprano, with a voice suited both for lyric roles and for somewhat weightier fare. A Puccini specialist, she was known in particular for the title role in “Madama Butterfly,” a part she sang more than 300 times. Her other notable Puccini roles included Mimi in “La Bohème,” the title part in “Tosca” and Liù in “Turandot.”

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