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Yma Sumac

Opera singer

Died when: 86 years 50 days (1033 months)
Star Sign: Virgo


Yma Sumac

Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo (September 13, 1922 (birth certificate) or September 10, 1922 (later documents) – November 1, 2008), known professionally as Yma Sumac (/ˈiːmə ˈsuːmæk/), was a Peruvian-American coloratura soprano.

She was one of the most famous exponents of exotica music during the 1950s.Sumac became an international success based on her vocal range.

She had five octaves according to some reports, but other reports (and recordings) document four-and-a-half at the peak of her singing career. (A typical trained singer has a range of about three octaves.) Yma Sumac sold more than 40 million records which makes her one of the best-selling Latin Americans in history and the best-selling Peruvian in history.

In one live recording of "Chuncho", she sang a range of over four and a half octaves, from B2 to G♯7.

She sang notes in the low baritone register as well as notes above the range of an ordinary soprano.Both low and high extremes can be heard in the song "Chuncho (The Forest Creatures)" (1953).

In 1954, composer and music critic Virgil Thomson described Sumac's voice as "very low and warm, very high and birdlike", noting that her range "is very close to five octaves, but is in no way inhuman or outlandish in sound." In 2012, audio recording restoration expert John H.

Haley favorably compared Sumac's tone to opera singers Isabella Colbran, Maria Malibran, and Pauline Viardot.

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