1921 – 2012
1921 – 2012
Marguerite Piazza (September 23, 1921 – August 2, 2012) was an American soprano, entertainer and philanthropist from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Marguerite Claire Luft was born to Albert William Luft, Jr. (c. 1897 – September 12, 1923) and Margherita (née Piazza; c. 1900 – 1958, later known as Margaret), who wed on January 24, 1917. Around 1927, the widowed Margaret Luft wed Reuben Davis Breland, whose surname Marguerite adopted. Marguerite was the first Queen of the Krewe of Virgilians during Mardi Gras in her native New Orleans. A 1940 graduate of Loyola University of the South’s College of Music, she went on to study at Louisiana State University, where she was a student of the baritone Pasquale Amato. She adopted her mother’s maiden name (Piazza) professionally.
In 1944, she joined the New York City Opera, and was the youngest member of the company. Her first role was Nedda in Pagliacci, and in subsequent seasons appeared in La bohème (as Musetta), Der Zigeunerbaron, Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira), and Amelia al ballo (as Amelia). She made her first appearance with the New Orleans Opera Association in Martha (in 1945), followed by Hänsel und Gretel (as Gretel), as well as the title role in Il segreto di Susanna. In 1950, Piazza made her Broadway debut, in Happy as Larry, with Burgess Meredith directing and starring in the title rôle, and Alexander Calder designing.
As a result of that production, the soprano was invited to join the cast of the NBC television program “Your Show of Shows,” with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca (1950 – 54). She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951, as Rosalinde von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. Following the end of “Your Show of Shows,” she embarked on a career in supper and night clubs, bringing her further acclaim as an entertainer.
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both…