Italian opera singer Mirella Freni has died at age 84. Freni’s manager said the famed soprano who enthralled audiences for half a century died Sunday at her home in Modena, Italy, from a degenerative muscular disease and a series of strokes. Freni was the last in a line of Italian sopranos who prompted ovations with their entrances alone. Broadway playwright Albert Innaurato dubbed her “the last prima donna.” During a professional career that started with Bizet’s “Carmen” at Modena’s municipal theatre in 1955 and had its opera finale with Tchaikovsky’s “The Maid of Orleans” at the Washington National Opera in 2005, Freni chose her roles with care and caution.
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