Wilhelmenia Fernandez, sometimes billed as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, is an American soprano, born in Philadelphia in 1949. She appeared in the 1981 film Diva by French director Jean-Jacques Beineix.
Fernandez's early training was at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts, followed by a scholarship at The Juilliard School of Music in New York. Her operatic debut was as Bess in Porgy and Bess, for Houston Grand Opera, a production which toured both the USA and Europe.
She made her début in Paris as Musetta in La bohème (with Plácido Domingo and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa), and at the New York City Opera in the same role in 1982.
Since then she has sung in operas and recitals in cities all over the world, her most notable roles being Carmen, Carmen Jones (for which she received the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 as Best Actress in a Musical), and Aïda, a role she has performed in Luxor and at the Pyramids in Egypt.
She has made recordings of George Gershwin and of Negro spirituals.
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