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The Great Lady Sings! an 88th Birthday

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Virginia Zeani with William Riddle. Photo copyright Cliff Cunningham

“Music is the best thing a person can do in life,” declared the great opera star Virginia Zeani at her 88th birthday bash, held at the Riverside Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale on Oct. 25.

“Nothing can replace the incredible joy of emitting a sound and giving your heart. Everytime I sing I give my heart, and in the night it becomes more young!” This sentiment was greeted with great laughter and applause by a select audience at the event, hosted by the Venetian Arts Salon.

Among those in attendance were James Brooks-Bruzzese, conductor of the Symphony of the Americas, opera expert Professor Mario Hamlet-Metz, and Roger Beaumont, who has just finished a biography of Zeani.

William Riddle, president of the Venetian Arts Salon, spoke with excitement about the film currently in production about the remarkable life of Virginia Zeani, whom he described as one of the most important figures in the history of 20th century opera.

Zeani said in an impromptu talk to the gathering that she “wants to encourage the young generation to have patience and learn a lot. Then they will learn, like me, that it’s a joy to arrive old.

“You are not old at 88 – you can start the life!”

However long she thrives, one thing is for certain – the indomitable will she projected to her audiences and pupils with her extraordinary voice and zest for life will live forever.

Clifford Cunningham

Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist currently affiliated with the National Astronomical Research Institute. He did his PhD work in the history of astronomy at James Cook University, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. He is the author of 12 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honour by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1990.

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