January 16, 2005 in Nation/World

In passing

The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

De los Angeles
(Full-size photo)

Spanish soprano Victoria de los Angeles

Barcelona, Spain Victoria de los Angeles, a Spanish soprano whose career spanned five decades, died Saturday at a clinic in Barcelona. She was 81.

De los Angeles, a musical prodigy who finished Spain’s Liceo Conservatory in Madrid in three years, instead of the usual six, performed at the Paris Opera, London’s Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Near the end of her career, she sang at the closing ceremonies of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

De los Angeles was born in Barcelona in 1923 and made her opera debut at the city’s Liceo Theater in 1945 as the countess in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro.”

The soprano’s voice was sought after for its masterful tonal control and its seemingly effortless ability to turn on the power.

De los Angeles retired from the stage in 1998 after the death of one of her two sons, though she continued giving occasional recitals. She leaves an extensive recorded portfolio of 21 complete operas and more than 25 solo recital records.

Among her most acclaimed opera roles were Bizet’s “Carmen” and Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” and “La Boheme.”

Bread cofounder Jimmy Griffin, 61

Nashville, Tenn. James Arthur “Jimmy” Griffin, who was a founding member of the 1970s pop group Bread and shared an Oscar for co-writing “For All We Know,” died of complications from cancer. He was 61.

Griffin, who died Tuesday at his home in Franklin, sang harmony and played guitar with Bread, whose soft-rock hits included “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m-a Want You” and “Everything I Own.”

“For All We Know,” from the movie “Lovers and Other Strangers,” won a 1970 Academy Award and was a hit for The Carpenters. Griffin also wrote such country hits as Conway Twitty’s “Who’s Gonna Know” and Restless Heart’s “You Can Depend On Me.”

Griffin, David Gates and Robb Royer released Bread’s debut album in 1968. Griffin left the band in 1973 and rejoined in 1976 before it broke up in a swirl of rancor and lawsuits.

Rock drummer Spencer Dryden, 66

Petaluma, Calif. Spencer Dryden, drummer for the Jefferson Airplane in the rock band’s glory years, including the breakthrough 1967 album “Surrealistic Pillow” and the Woodstock festival, has died of cancer. He was 66.

A benefit concert last year raised $36,000 for Dryden, who was facing hip replacement and heart surgery at the time and whose home had been destroyed by fire. He was diagnosed with cancer later last year.

“Spencer had a flow, a way of going, an impulse power that was irresistible and unique,” the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart told the Chronicle in the obituary published Thursday. “He was capable of creating a churning, loving rhythm machine for ecstatic dancing.”

Dryden was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 for his work with the Jefferson Airplane.

Dryden recorded on a number of the Airplane’s most famous albums, “Surrealistic Pillow,” which included the hits “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”; “After Bathing At Baxter’s”; “Bless Its Pointed Little Head”; “Crown Of Creation”; and “Volunteers.”

During his stint with the Airplane, Dryden had an affair with lead singer Grace Slick.

He left the band in 1970.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, he played for the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and a group of psychedelic rock veterans called the Dinosaurs.


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