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Lucrezia Bori (24 December 1887 – 14 May 1960) was a Spanish operatic singer, a lyric soprano.
Her voice had a unique timbre and transparent quality unlike any present-day singer. She studied in Milan with Vidal and made her debut at the Teatro Adriano in Rome as Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen in 1908. In 1911 she sang Octavian in the Italian premiere of Der Rosenkavalier at La Scala.
Her career at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where she became one of the great and unforgotten favourites, began during the Met's first visit to Paris, in 1910 (June 9; Manon Lescaut). It would last until 1936, although from 1915 to 1921 she stopped singing due to nodes on her vocal cords. She appeared a total of 654 times. She was famous for her portrayals of Manon in Massenet's opera; Mimì in La bohème; Fiora in L' amore dei trè rè; Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande; and Violetta in La traviata.
Her farewell gala on 29 March 1936 was one of the great events at the Metropolitan. Bori sang scenes from Manon and La traviata, with contributions from Flagstad, Melchior, Rethberg, Pinza, Ponselle, Martinelli, Tibbett and Richard Crooks.
Bori continued to perform in recitals and record for some years after her Metropolitan retirement; she can be heard, for example, in "off-the-air" recordings of a Hollywood Bowl concert from 1937, singing "Si, Mi Chiamano Mimi" and "O Soave Fanciulla" with Tenor Joseph Bentonelli, with the LA Philharmonic under Otto Klemperer. After her retirement from singing she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association and became chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
Bori died in New York.
Bori's complete Victor recordings were published on four compact discs by Romophone in 1995, numbers 81016-2 and 81017-2, with transfers and audio restoration by Ward Marston, who is planning a re-issue of her complete Edison recordings in his own Marstonrecords label. Live recordings (airchecks) also exist of her farewell gala at the Met on 29 March 1936.
Bori's recordings of "El Jilguerito con Pico de Oro" (Blas de Laserna) and arias de "Acis y Galatea" (Literes) with George Copeland (piano) were published on a compilation CD, named Great Voices of the Century Sing Exotica, published by SanCtuS Recordings, on which Bori appears in the context of other great voices of her time.
- Steane, John Barry. Historic vocal Lucrezia Bori Opera and Operetta Arias, Volumes 1 and 2. Lucrezia Bori (sop) with various artists, The Gramophone, November 1996, p. 54. Accessed 27 February 2012
- The Last Prima Donnas, by Lanfranco Rasponi, Alfred A Knopf, 1982. ISBN 0-394-52153-6