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Teresa Berganza, the charismatic star of the opera stage, has died at the age of 89.

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Ms Berganza turned to Spanish pastor Jose Riffa for spiritual guidance, who had long praised her singing. She resigned as priest to marry him, and she regularly identified herself as Mr. Berganza. They divorced after 10 years.

Complete information about the survivors was not immediately available.

Ms Berganza made her operatic debut at the Aix-en-Provence festival in France in 1957 as Dorabella in Mozart’s “Kosi Fan Tute”. In 1958, she made her first appearance in Milan Teatro alla Scala As Isolier in Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory”. “ The following year, she debuted as Rozina in London’s Covent Garden in Rozini’s “Il Barbire de Siviglia”, which will be one of her signature roles. Critics were pleased with her rich, fluid Contralto voice, which easily handled the intricate decorations demanded by Rozini heroines.

In 1967, Ms. Berganza made her metropolitan opera debut as Cherubino in Mozart’s “Le Noze de Figaro”. This will be another popular role for him.

For years, Ms. Berganza turned down offers to play the lead role in “Carmen,” saying she found the character’s complexity too frightening. He finally agreed to take it to the King’s Theater in Edinburgh in 1977. In preparation, she studied the 1845 novel “Carmen” by Prosper Mary, which was based on the opera, as well as the libretto by Henry Melhawk and Ludovic Halevi.

She then interviewed women living in caves outside Granada in southern Spain, as she put it, “to better understand gypsy life.” Rejecting Carmen’s more traditional portrayal as a prostitute, she chose to play the rebellious gypsy instead. “She speaks with her heart, her body, her courage,” Ms. Berganza wrote in her autobiography.

Reviewing a Carnegie Hall reading in November 1982. Times critic Donal Henahan wrote, “The burgundy voice, always amazing flexibility and dark polish, has now become, if anything, even more exciting, strong and dramatic.”

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