Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez (1949-2024): the voice that summoned in “Diva”

THe opera star of “Diva” recently died, and though it is an all too brief post on Valentine’s Day, I simply must take note of her passing. The excerpt of Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez singing in a suspense thriller built around a “bootleg” tape of an artist who doesn’t believe in the commodification of her voice is one of the most poignant experiences of my entire life. I just listened to it once again, and it is more enrapturing than ever. I regret that I never had a chance to hear her perform live.

Oddly enough, my guess is that this film, which was released over 40 years ago, has probably not been seen by the majority of filmgoers between the ages of 18 and 30.

May the most exquisite operatic voice I have ever heard rest in eternal reverberation.

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