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Gina Cigna; French Operatic Soprano, 20-Year Vocal Coach

July 02, 2001

Gina Cigna, 101, the French operatic soprano known for her internationally lauded role in "Turandot," died June 26 in Milan, Italy.

Born in Paris in 1900, Cigna made her stage debut at Milan's La Scala opera house at age 27 under the name Ginette Sens. Two years later, under her own name, she performed her breakthrough role in Mozart's "Don Giovanni," also in the revered La Scala.

Although an automobile accident ended Cigna's performing career in 1947, she continued to coach other opera singers for another 20 years in Milan, Siena and Canada.

A critic recently called the diva, a favorite of conductor Arturo Toscanini, "one of the greatest singers that ever lived."

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