|Birthname||Benita Marie Valente|
|born on||19 October 1934 at 22:50 (= 10:50 PM )|
|Place||Delano, California, 35n46, 119w15|
|Timezone||PST h8w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||26°12' 25°27 Asc. 25°26'|
American singer, acclaimed for almost 30 years as one of the most beloved lyric sopranos of her generation, as well as one of the busiest. With a versatility that put her equally at home with a variety of composers, she sang with a voice described as smooth, richly colored, and powerful. She is a striking dark-haired woman with Mediterranean features.
The youngest of four daughters of a shoemaker father and his wife, she lived and worked on a dairy and cotton farm owned by her uncle. Her parents separated when she was five and she was raised by her mother, a self-taught singer who made up her own songs. Her mother died of cancer when Valente was in her late teens.
The family was very musical, and listened to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts over the radio together, so Valente grew up with a love of opera. When she was 14, her high school music teacher recognized that she had a voice that could "go to the top." The teacher planned her entire course of study, and by the 10th grade, she was already being geared for conservatory training. When she was 16, she and the teacher drove to Los Angeles to audition with the legendary Wagnerian, Lotte Lehman. Valente was accepted as a student, and after a year of private study, she had a full scholarship at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
At age 19, she won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute and enrolled there in September 1955. She graduated from the Institute in 1960 and appeared in the Marlboro Festival in Vermont that summer. She made her New York concert debut on 10/09/1960 at the New School for Social Research. Her primary success came thorough chamber music, lieder, opera, oratorio and, in 1960, she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions where she was awarded a $1,000 prize for her performance. She used the money to help subsidize a stay in New York as a student of the Metropolitan Opera Studio.
She went to audition in Europe and received a contract with the Freiburg Opera in West Germany. She sang for one season there, before joining the Nuremburg Opera in 1966. She disliked the dictatorial approach of the opera companies, and returned to the United States the same year. Her first major performance was an appearance in a "Music from Marlboro" program at New York’s Town Hall on 4/28/1966. By the late ‘60s, her concerts and recitals had become more frequent.
On 9/22/1973, she made her long-delayed Metropolitan Opera debut as Pamina, in "The Magic Flute." The Met debut opened a new era in her career. She went on to more recitals and concerts, and acquired a reputation as an exponent of contemporary composition. She also did a number of recordings, though she disliked them, due to her feelings about the adjustable volume capabilities of recordings.
While at the Curtis Institute, she met a young bassoonist named Anthony Checchia and they married on 11/21/1959. They have one son, Peter, a bassoonist and photographer.
B.C. in hand from the Wilsons
- Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Mom died of cancer)
- Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Fourth of four)
- Family : Childhood : Parents divorced (When she was five)
- Lifestyle : Home : Neighborhood (Raised on a farm)
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/Opera (Smooth and rich voice)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Beloved for 30 years)
- Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection