Fedora Alemán

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Fedora Alemán
Born(1912-10-11)11 October 1912
Died6 February 2018(2018-02-06) (aged 105)
Caracas
NationalityVenezuelan
Occupationsinger

Fedora Alemán (11 October 1912 – 6 February 2018) was a Venezuelan operatic soprano. One of Venezuela's most celebrated singers, she performed in concert halls throughout Latin America and Europe.[1]

Early life, education and family[edit]

Born in Caracas on 11 October 1912, Alemán began to play the piano when she was six.[2] Her vocal talents were recognized from an early age, especially when she reached her teens. She studied at the Escuela de Música y Declamación in Caracas before training in New York under Fausto Cleva and, in particular, Alfredo Hollander in Caracas.[3][2]

In her early twenties, Alemán married the American cellist Mario Di Polo whom she met in New York when she was 22. They remained married until he died in 1975.[4] The couple had three children: Reinaldo, a scientific researcher; Mario, a violinist, and Frank, a trumpeter.[5]

Career[edit]

Her first recording, on the RCA Victor label, was made in New York while her first public performance was in 1936 at Caracas's Teatro Municipal. It was also here she sang her first opera, Pergolesi's La serva padrona. She went on to perform leading roles in Verdi's Rigoletto and La Traviata.[3][6][7]

From 1950, her concert tours reached North America, Brazil and Europe. She performed in the United States, in Rio de Janeiro, and in 1951 in the Caribbean. In 1954, she participated in the Primar Festival de Música Latinoamericana de Caracas (First Caracas Festival of Latin American Music), with Bachianas Brasileñas by Heitor Villa-Lobos. In 1956, she sang Lucy from the opera of Gian Carlo Menotti: The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois.[8] In 1961, she travelled to France and Italy where she undertook further voice training. The following year she performed at the Grand Théâtre in Bordeaux.[5]

After appearances in Nice and Paris, she traveled in 1964 to Israel, where she appeared in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The following year, she sang the world premiere of Cuatro canciones sefardíes by Joaquín Rodrigo at the Ateneo de Madrid and in the auditorium of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In 1971, she received the first prize in the Certosa Festival in Italy. In 1974, she was elected Woman of the Year in Venezuela. In 1977 she received the National Music Award , and in 1992 the Andrés Bello award. The Simón Bolívar University called her "a pioneer of lyrical singing in Venezuela". She was a music teacher from 2006, with a doctorate honoris causa.[2]

Celebrated Venezuelan and foreign composers have created works for Alemán. These include Por los caminos de Zorca y Petrea by Blanca Estrella de Méscoli, La renuncia by Antonio Estévez, Vuelas al fin by Moisés Moleiro, Canción a Fedora by José Reina, Giraluna lejana by Inocente Carreño, Alma no me digas nada by Ana Mercedes Asuaje de Rugeles and Pájaro del agua by Joaquín Rodrigo.[9]

After retiring from the stage in 1989,[10] together with the Venezuelan soprano Lotty Ipinza, she founded the Taller de Técnica Vocal Fedora Alemán in Caracas, initially aimed at aspiring singers with limited resources and currently to stimulate the participation of young people attracted to singing.[11]

The critic Ana Mercedes Asuaje de Rugeles (1914-2012) commented:

Today, the majesty of Fedora in her autumnal beauty is like a huge shrine safeguarding invaluable treasures, acquired during the irreversible course of a lifetime. Her presence shines out around her, whether singing or silent, she will always be Fedora, the unparalleled Fedora.[12]

She died on 6 February 2018, of natural causes, at the age of 105.[1]

Recognition and awards[edit]

Alemán was named Mujer de Venezuela (Woman of Venezuela) in 1974. She has also received the Orden de la Ciudad de Caracas (Order of the City of Caracas), the Orden Andrés Bello and the Orden Río Branco. A music centre in central Caracas bears her name while the Fedora Alemán medal is awarded for lyrical excellence in the Venezuelan National Singing Contest.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Salazar, Abraham (8 February 2018). "Fedora Alemán, la soprano que llevó al mundo el lirismo venezolano" (in Spanish). El Nacioanl. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Doctorados Honoris Causa: Maestra Fedora Alemán" (in Spanish). Cenda. 22 February 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Un canto de adiós para Fedora Alemán: la voz que cautivó un siglo de arte en Venezuela" (in Spanish). Contrapunto. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  4. ^ Macedo, Juan (25 October 2012). "Mario Di Polo" (in Spanish). Anécdotas Hípicas Venezolanas. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Fedora Alemán" (in Spanish). Venezuela e historia. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Falleció la soprano venezolana Fedora Alemán, a sus 105 años" (in Spanish). Informe21. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  7. ^ Barragán, Luis (September 10, 2012). "El Centenario de Fedora Alemán". Digital Newsletter (in Spanish). Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  8. ^ "Fedora Alemán murió. Incomparable vocalista latinoamericana" (in Spanish). Telesantander. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  9. ^ a b Penín, José and Guido, Walter (1998). "Fedora Alemán: Una joya lírica nacional" (in Spanish). Vitae. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Pinceladas de Toda un Vida" [Brushstrokes of a lifetime]. El Universal (in Spanish). October 20, 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Fodora Technical Workshop German Fedora - Information | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Diaz, Veronica. "Mujeres estremecedoras" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 February 2018.