Jovita Fuentes was the founder of the Asociacion Musical de Filipinas, Bach Society of the Philippines and the Artists Guild of the Philippines. She received numerous awards for her talents as vocalist and dedication as a leader. She was named National Artist in Music 1976.
Jovita Fuentes was born in Capiz on February 15, 1895. At the age of 5, she already learned how to sing the habanseras and the danzas. She took formal lessons from Italian singer Salvina Fornari, who was the residing in Manila. For 5 years until 1924, she taught voice culture at the UP Conservatory of Music. She furthered her skills in opera and acting abroad in Italy under the guidance of Arturo Cadore, Luigi Kucenti, and Maestro Villani. Her performance as Cio Cio San in Puccini's Madame Butterfly in the spring of 1925 in Italy, earned for her international recognition. After that, she traveled to North America, the Philippines, Europe to perform such plum roles as Mimi in La Boheme; Liu Yu in Turandot; Princess Yang Gui Fe in Li Tai Pe; and the lead role in Iris. In 1932, Richard Strauss took notice of her voice and chose her to star in his opera Salome. Her final recital was in 1945 in Manila. She retired from performing in 1955 to teach. She also pursued the establishment of the Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines.
Hear her sing "Ay! Kalisud" circa 1928. Click here
The stamp above is part of a set of five stamps in the Decade of Filipino Nationalism (Great Filipinos VII) issued on June 1,1995.