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Video Published: 05 Feb 2024

NEA Opera Honors: An Oral History with Martina Arroyo

In 2010, soprano Martina Arroyo was awarded an NEA Opera Honors award and sat down for an interview about opera and their life.

This interview was originally posted by the NEA on October 25, 2010.
The Oral History Project is supported by the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation. 

Martina Arroyo, soprano

Soprano Martina Arroyo enjoyed an international career from the 1960s through the 1980s, and was a favorite at the Metropolitan Opera beginning in 1965, when she substituted for an ailing Birgit Nilsson in the role of Aida. She went on to perform at the Met all of the major Verdi roles that would become the basis of her repertory, as well as Donna Anna, Cio-Cio-San, Liù, Santuzza, Gioconda, and Elsa. Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, Arroyo served six years on the NEA's National Council on the Arts. She currently serves on the boards at Carnegie Hall and MasterVoices and is a trustee emerita of the Hunter College Foundation. She has given countless master classes and judged several competitions, including the George London Competition and the International Tchaikovsky Competition. In 2003, she established the Martina Arroyo Foundation, which offers emerging artists a structured curriculum focusing on the study and preparation of complete operatic roles.

Arroyo was a 2010 recipient of the NEA Opera Honors, a program administered by the National Endowment for the Arts from 2008 to 2011. The NEA Opera Honors recipients are now recognized in OPERA America’s Opera Hall of Fame.

Oral History Project

Discover the full collection of oral histories at the link below.