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She was the "anti-Callas," with "dimples of iron," but I know of no better description of La Tebaldi than that in the Harper Dictionary of Opera & Operetta: "The outstanding Italian lyric soprano of the postwar period, she possessed a voice of great beauty and considerable power, which she used with style, elegance and scrupulous good taste. Her radiant voice, warm personality and sympathetic stage presence combined to make her one of the best-loved singers of her time."

Pace, pace mio Dio.

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I was fortunate to have seen Tebaldi many times, starting in 1966 when the new Met opened. She was in a class by herself, so regal and at the same time so feminine. By the mid-60s her top register was rather touch-and-go and the voice had become huge and extremely resonant in the chest register which gave an extra emotional wallop to such roles as Maddalena, Gioconda, Tosca and Minnie in FANCIULLA DEL WEST. In one of her last Met roles, she proved a charming comedienne in FALSTAFF. I will always remember, as a young & eager fan, meeting her in her dressing room where she received people like a benevolent queen and spoke in her soft, intimate voice greeting each person specially and making you feel that she was honored that you came to her performance. I have some lovely photos that I took in those days, she was wonderfully photogenic and very generous with her time - after a tiring performance - signing programmes and being photographed. Her voice, so warm & powerful, will never be matched. And her personality was both larger-than-life and extraordinarily human.

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