CDA: Mirella Freni
The great Italian soprano, the last of her kind. Really, is there anyone else from her generation still around? She had a long, important, extraordinary career. Sadly I never heard her live but loved her recordings, loved seeing her on TV.
Here she is singing Mimi's heartbreaking aria, "Donde lieta usci," from *La Boheme.* Her partner in this performance was Luciano Pavarotti - - the two of them were contemporaries, they grew up in the same small town in Italy, they even shared a wet nurse! Freni said, "I think he got all the milk!"
And another performance from later in her career, singing one of my favorite arias, what I call the "sweet young thing" aria from *Carmen.* Her French isn't what I would call idiomatic, but I know that Bizet would be thrilled with her.