Ofelia Nieto

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Soprano Ofelia Nieto was one of the brightest stars among Spanish divas in the early twentieth century. Born in Algete, Nieto made her operatic debut at the tender age of 16, creating the title role in…
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Soprano Ofelia Nieto was one of the brightest stars among Spanish divas in the early twentieth century. Born in Algete, Nieto made her operatic debut at the tender age of 16, creating the title role in Amadeo Vives' zarzuela Maruxa, a part with which she established her fame; Nieto's first recordings were in excerpts made of Maruxa in Madrid in 1914. Nieto was particularly popular in Spain, where she appeared often in opera houses in Madrid and Barcelona. Nevertheless, over the course of the next 14 years, Nieto's unusually mature voice and considerable acting talent would take her also to Rome, La Scala in Milan, and even the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Nieto likewise appeared in opera houses in American cities that had a large concentration of Spanish speakers, such as Los Angeles and Mexico City. Although she sang a wide range of repertoire, largely in Spanish translations, Nieto's specialty was in zarzuela and in particular Vives' Maruxa.

In 1928, Nieto married and retired from the stage, though she came back out of retirement long enough to participate in a complete recording of Maruxa in 1930. Lucky for posterity that she did so, as Nieto died during an operation the following year; although accounts differ as to what day she may have died, Ofelia Nieto was not more than 32 or 33 years old.