Elena Gaja

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Elena Gaja (born October 26, 1946 in Braşov, Romania) is a Romanian mezzo-soprano opera singer.

She graduated from the Ciprian Porumbescu Music Academy in Bucharest where she studied under Magda Ianculescu., Agenda, 25 April 2009, p.8 A stage actress, Gaja had an affinity for the French opera repertoire and also for Verdi and verismo. She distinguished herself from the other mezzo sopranos by her rare type of mezzosoprano-contralto voice in the tradition of Marietta Alboni and Clara Butt with a cavernous low register and a powerful dark-coloured voice which earned her the name of a viola da gamba.

In December 1982 she won joint first prize in the Concorso Internazionale "Vincenzo Bellini" per Cantanti Lirici in Italy, becoming the first Romanian singer to have won this prize.

She was a soloist of the Romanian National Opera in Timişoara, Royal Academy of Music Library and toured throughout Europe as well as performing at the George Enescu Festival. She appeared most frequently as Carmen which became one of her hallmarks and which she performed more than 300 times.

She retired from the stage in 1996 but continued to give concerts and opera recitals with a repertoire that includes opera arias, sacred arias, oratorio, lied to tango, zarzuelas and film music. She also taught at the Faculty of Music at the Timişoara University of the West.

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