Angela Peralta was a Mexican opera singer who was well-known all over the world for her lyrical style of bel canto and was a key figure in Mexican opera during the mid-nineteenth century. She was one of the most significant Mexican opera singers in the history of Mexico.
She was featured on Google Doodle for her 175th birthday celebration. Not only was Peralta known for her solo performance at prestigious opera houses, but she was also an amazing Mexican pianist, composer, and harpist.
Her Early Years in Mexico City
Angela Peralta was born on July 6, 1845 in Mexico City. Her father and mother are Manuel Peralta and Josefa Castera de Peralta.
She had a natural talent for singing and an ear for music since she was a child. This remarkable singer began her career when she was at the young age of 8, performing a cavatina from Belisario by Gaetano Donizetti.
At the age of 15, she made her operatic debut as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore at Mexico City’s Teatro Nacional. She trained as a music and opera student at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Mexico City.
Her Life in Europe
After completing her study, Angela Peralta went to Italy to study singing under Guiseppe Leopardi. She was accompanied by her father and financed by Santiago de la Vega.
She made her Italian operatic debut at La Scala opera house in Milan on May 13, 1862, in Lucia di Lammermoor. She had already performed at numerous prominent European opera houses by the age of 20, and she was called the “Mexican Nightingale” in Europe.
The name Mexican Nightingale was given to her because she was an opera singer who could sing the highest to lowest notes with ease and beauty.
Before King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, she performed Italian opera and received 23 curtain calls during a performance in the Teatro Regio opera house. She sang at many opera houses throughout Italy as well.
Ángela Peralta went back to Mexico after accepting the invitation to sing by the Second Mexican Empire at the National Imperial Theatre. She received standing ovations and was named “Chamber singer of the Empire”.
Peralta married her cousin, Eugenio Castera, and took a break from singing for a while. She continued to write songs and piano pieces, such as Álbum Musical de Ángela Peralta.
Her husband developed a mental illness just after they got married and he was admitted to a mental hospital in Paris.
Peralta fell in love again with her manager, Julián Montiel y Duarte. This became a scandal in Mexico City. Mexican social elites boycotted her performances and hired hecklers to disrupt her acts, which prompted Peralta to stop performing in Mexico City.
Her husband passed away in 1876 and it wasn’t until 1883 when she was on her deathbed from the yellow fever epidemic that she finally married her lover, Julián Montiel Duarte.
Her Own Opera Company
Ángela Peralta started her own opera company in 1871 and toured Mexico. She adopted a lyrical operatic style of bel canto and performed her signature roles: Amina in La sonnambula and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor.
In her final tour, she traveled to northern Mexico with her Italian opera company in 1883, attempting to rebuild her reputation and finances. The tour abruptly ended after the company arrived in Mazatlán, where they were to perform Il Trovatore and Aida.
She was elaborately welcomed to the city. Sadly, yellow fever spread through the city and Peralta and 76 of her 80 troupe members died from contracting yellow fever a few days after they arrived. She married Julián Montiel y Duarte on her deathbed. According to an eyewitness, she was no longer responsive.
In Remembrance of Ángela Peralta
The city of Mazatlán, where Ángela Peralta died, has a theater named after her. Angela Peralta Theater was previously the Rubio Theater. It was the finest performance space built in 1874 and renovated in 1992. The Ángela Peralta Theater is now one of the main attractions in Mazatlan.
There is also another Ángela Peralta Theater in San Miguel de Allende, where she actually performed when she was alive.
Closing on Ángela Peralta: the Mexican Nightingale
The story of Ángela Peralta, the Mexican Nightingale, is a tragic tale that teaches us about the power and fragility of fame. She was an opera singer who achieved great success at a young age, but her personal life was plagued with tragedy.
Despite the challenges she faced, she continued to sing and wrote music until her untimely death. Ángela Peralta left behind a legacy as one of Mexico’s most celebrated opera singers.