Jovita Fuentes (1895-1978) is considered to have been the first notable Filipina operatic soprano. Hailed as “The Maestra” among Filipinos, she was respected as a world-renowned singer, teacher, song arranger, and a dedicated arts advocate. Despite her successful career in the Philippines and abroad, Jovita Fuentes remains unrecognized in classical music discussions today.
Jovita Fuentes acquired a public presence both through her exceptional talent and relationship with politician Manuel Acuña Roxas, who became President of the Philippines in 1946. After her breakup from Roxas, Fuentes immersed herself in an international operatic career, and later dedicated her life to creating musical opportunities for younger generations within the Philippines. Fuentes was noted for her bel canto roles but was especially praised for her interpretation of Puccini’s title character in Madama Butterfly. This project report will discuss how the personal hardships Fuentes endured in her lifetime mirrored those of Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, resulting in her moving and authentic interpretation of the role. Fuentes’ experiences with heartbreak and her Filipina identity in Western society parallel the struggles of Cio-Cio-San. Fuentes’ rendition of Cio-Cio San’s Act II aria, “Un bel dì vedremo,” reflects the youthful, brilliant, and dramatic qualities that uniquely depict Cio-Cio-San’s story as well as her own.
|Commitee:||Hahn, Alexander, Doyle, Alicia|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Bob Cole Conservatory of Music|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 82/4(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Music, Performing Arts, Music history|
|Keywords:||Cio-Cio-San, Diaspora, Jovita Fuentes, Madama Butterfly, Opera, Philippines|
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