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Moldovan opera singer dies at 76

May 16, 2012, 19:46 UTC+3

Biesu was a Moldovan Soviet opera and chamber singer and also a teacher

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MOSCOW, May 16 (Itar-Tass) — Maria Biesu, the prima of Moldovan opera, died at the age of 76 after a long and serious disease on Wednesday, Moldovan Deputy Culture Minister George Postike told journalists.

Biesu was a Moldovan Soviet opera and chamber singer and also a teacher. She held the honorary titles of People’s Artist of the USSR and the Lenin Prize laureate. She was also decorated with Moldovan state awards.

Professor Alexander Sokolov told Itar-Tass that the whole world had admired Biesu’s soprano. Her first great success came in the 1960s when a young Moldovan opera soloist trained at La Scala theatre in Milano. She learnt title women parts in Italian in operas by Puccini and Verdi. Later, she became the winner of the Third Tchaikovsky International Music contest among vocalists. She won the title ‘Best Cio-Cio-San in the World’ at the First International Competition in Memory of Miura Tomaki held in Japan.

Sokolov recalled the outstanding performances Maria Biesu had given in the Bolshoi and other leading opera theatres in the former USSR, the United States, Finland, Austria and Australia. Biesu’s chamber repertoire was also wide and diverse. It included more than 20 concert programs consisting of Russian and foreign classical music pieces.

“Maria Biesu was closely linked to the Moscow conservatoire where she gave singing lessons and gave solo concerts on the stage of the Grand hall. She didn’t have any technical problems. I am pleased to say that numerous recordings of her parts, songs and romances will forever go down in history of Soviet and world vocal art,” Sokolov went on to say.

Biesu’s death came as a shock to many of her friends and colleagues, including Zurab Sotkilava, an opera singer and People’s Artist of the USSR.

“I was deeply shocked by the tragic news. It’s so painful. This is an irretrievable loss,” Sotkilava told Itar-Tass.

“I studies in Italy together with Maria Biesu. We trained at La Scala. We were big friends,” the opera singer said.

He added that Biesu was a wonderful person and a singer with a divine voice.

Maria Biesu spent the last years of her life promoting the ‘Maria Biesu Invites’ opera and ballet festival, which is known in many countries.

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