MOT salutes soprano Martina Arroyo on her historic MET debut 56 years ago - Michigan Opera Theatre

MOT salutes soprano Martina Arroyo on her historic MET debut 56 years ago

From Left: Arroyo as Elizabeth in Don Carlo 1971 - Right: Martina Arroyo receives the Kennedy Center Honor in 2013

56 years ago this month, a little known African-American soprano from New York stepped in at the last minute to replace superstar soprano Birgit Nilsson as Verdi’s Aida at the Metropolitan Opera House.


Her performance received rave reviews with The New York Times praising Arroyo as "one of the most gorgeous voices before the public today.” The MET’s General Director Rudolf Bing immediately offered her a contract to join the roster of the company's principal sopranos where she remained over the next 20 years. Her final MET performance was as Aida in 1986.


Arroyo made her debut with Michigan Opera Theatre in 1979 as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore and as Turandot in 1986.


Listen to Martina Arroyo’s moving Libera me Domine from the Verdi Requiem-Paris 1969.


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