On this day in 1845, Ángela Peralta Castera, the woman who would become a legendary soprano and world-renowned opera singer, was born in Mexico City. Peralta attracted attention from a very young age: at the age of 8, she performed a cavatina (an aria) from the Italian opera Belisario that had her audience completely enthralled. As she grew up, Peralta cultivated a formidable reputation for her incandescent vocals. Today, Peralta is the subject of a Google Doodle which highlights her mastery of the form and her robust onstage presence. She was able to begin honing her skills early; the singer made her operatic debut at Mexico’s Gran Teatro Nacional when she was 15 years old.
As she matured, Peralta’s skill began to transcend the expected limits of fervor that could accumulate around an opera singer. Once, when she performed the opera Lucia di Lammermoor in Milan, Italy, the crowd was so taken with Peralta’s performance that they erupted into a standing ovation which prompted the singer to return to the stage no less than 23 times. Eventually, Peralta founded an opera company whose troupe traveled to the coastal Mexican city of Mazatlán, where an opera house now stands that’s been named for the singer. In this way, she illustrates just how beloved musicians can become when they pay appropriate homage to their county of origin.
Before that, however, Peralta earned the nickname of the “Mexican Nightingale” for her total domination of the lyrical style of opera called bel canto. On YouTube, songs composed by Peralta are available to listen to; she was also an accomplished pianist and harpist who refused to be bogged down by musical restrictions. All in all, her music transcended national borders and offered beauty en masse to an audience that was completely willing and delighted to accept it.