Home Arts & Culture Magda Olivero dies in Milan hospital aged 104

Magda Olivero dies in Milan hospital aged 104

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Italian soprano Magda Olivero has died at the age of 104 in Milan after a career spanning more than 70 years.

Magda Olivero died on September 8 in hospital after suffering a stroke last month, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

She made her debut in the 1930s but stopped performing after getting married in 1941.

Magda Olivero was coaxed back on to the stage 10 years later and enjoyed renewed stardom in Europe and the US.

She was still performing in public at the age of 99.

Magda Olivero made her debut in the 1930s but stopped performing after getting married in 1941

Magda Olivero made her debut in the 1930s but stopped performing after getting married in 1941

La Scala opera house in Milan – where Magda Olivero made her earliest performances – asked the public to hold a moment of silence before a performance on September 8.


The opera house described Magda Olivero’s voice as charismatic, her acting as formidable and her intelligence as “ready and cutting until the end”.

Italian daily La Repubblica said even in March 2010 when she performed at the Palazzo Cusani in Milan her voice was still “grandiose”.

The New York Times described Magda Olivero as a soprano who “for decades whipped audiences around the world into a frenzy of adulation that was operatic even by operatic standards – despite the fact that by her own ready admission she did not possess an especially lovely voice”.

It said that over the years bootleg recordings of Magda Oliver’s voice “passed from hand to covert hand among her legions of acolytes”.

“At live performances, she took the stage to screams of ecstasy and left it to thundering ovations,” the publication said.

Magda Olivero’s signature roles included title parts in Puccini’s Tosca, Umberto Giordano’s Fedora and Luigi Cherubini’s Medea.

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