Sayão, Bidú ( 1902-1999)

Great Brazilian soprano, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1937, beginning a career that spanned many decades.  She sang in many Villa-Lobos premieres and important concerts.  Her performance of the aria from Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 is famous - in the words of Alfred Heller, "when Sayão sang it, it was otherworldly, a great spiritual experience."  It was sad indeed to hear of her death in March 1999.

From Alan Blythe's obituary in The Guardian:

"She was also feted somewhat unexpectedly for her recording of Villa-Lobos's Bachiana Brasiliera, an unusual and haunting piece for solo soprano and nine cellos. She later said that she needed 'enormous breath for all those endless phrases intended for an instrument'. A huge success when it first appeared in 1945, the recording has seldom been out of the catalogue."