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Renowned Italian soprano Tebaldi dies

By wire services
Published December 20, 2004

Renowned Italian soprano Tebaldi dies

Renata Tebaldi, an Italian soprano renowned for her angelic voice, her stardom at New York's Metropolitan and Italy's La Scala and her media-fueled rivalry with Maria Callas, died Sunday (Dec. 19, 2004) at 82. She died at her home in San Marino, a tiny, independent republic in north-central Italy, after a long illness, said her doctor, Dr. Niksa Simetovic.

Ms. Tebaldi, at her peak in the 1950s, was recalled for her renditions of Puccini and Verdi with a voice praised for its purity of timbre and exceptional range of color and shadings. "Farewell, Renata, your memory and your voice will be etched on my heart forever," tenor Luciano Pavarotti said Sunday, quoted by the ANSA news agency. At Venice's La Fenice theater, the audience observed a minute of silence in her memory.

Much of the supposed rivalry between Ms. Tebaldi and Callas was actually whipped up by the media. After her retirement, Ms. Tebaldi told an interviewer she had never considered fiery Callas a rival.

Ms. 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, once called her "dimples of iron," a reference to a sweet appearance that belied an iron will.

In 1976, Ms. Tebaldi, who never married, retired from performing publicly and devoted much of her time to teaching.

A good weekend for "Lemony Snicket'

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events brought in $30.2-million to debut in first place at the weekend box office, knocking Ocean's Twelve to second at $18.3-million, studios estimated Sunday. Spanglish made its debut at third with $9-million.

[Last modified December 20, 2004, 06:20:36]

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