By Andrew Gans
09 Dec 2013
Sotomayer continued, “Another quality you need to be a true diva is heart. I’m convinced Martina’s voice couldn’t be that beautiful if it weren’t connected to a heart that’s beautiful. She is the most giving person – lavishing warmth, care, and attention on her colleagues, many friends, and legions of students. We bonded with each other – a kid from Harlem and another from the South Bronx – over a love of mothers and a sympathetic understanding of the value of people. Finally, I think you can be a diva without a sense of humor, but you can’t be my diva. I just love Martina’s gentle wit. When the great diva of color Leontyne Price was also appearing at the Met, the stage doorman greeted Martina saying, ‘Good evening, Miss Price.’ She sweetly replied, ‘No, honey, I’m the other one.’ …Martina Arroyo is full of life, one of the girls, a sensitive teacher, a lover of people, and a brilliant artist. That’s how I like my divas. That’s why I love my friend Martina Arroyo.”
The tribute to Martina Arroyo was a Verdi celebration featuring the music of “Aida,” commencing with tenor opera singer Joseph Calleja singing “Celeste Aida.” Next, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky performed “O Patria Mia.” Then the United States Naval Academy Glee Club and Army Herald Trumpets took the stage for the “Triumphal March,” followed by the “Finale from Act II,” sung by Arroyo’s protégés Ryan Speedo Green, Robert Kerr, Yuriy Yurchuk and Chantelle Grant, who were joined by Joseph Calleja and Sondra Radvanovsky for the tribute’s moving conclusion.
By Andrew Gans