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Cristina Altamira

Cristina Altamira is a mezzosoprano specializing in baroque and Latin American music.

Born into an Argentine family of Spanish descent, Cristina Altamira trained in Buenos Aires with her father, Manuel Altamira, a well-known tenor specializing in the genres of tango and milonga. She also became conversant with Argentine folk dance and guitar playing, and was a member of various choral organizations and music groups. After a performance tour through Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, she settled in Caracas. Here she founded the vocal-instrumental ensemble Alabanza, taking much interest in the study of Venezuelan folk music, instruments, and vocal techniques. In 1977 she recorded the album Gracias together with Pedro Inatty and Dieter Lehnhoff, whom she had met in Caracas and who became her husband.

After settling in Guatemala, Cristina Altamira developed an interest in Renaissance music from Europe and especially Spain, the country of her ancestors. She studied with Marina Prado Bolanos and Manuel Gomez, and performed as soloist with the accompaniment of lutenist Alejandro Herrera and with the Da Camera Ensemble. After a new period in Venezuela for a series of performances, she returned to Guatemala, where she sang and acted in theatrical productions such as Sophocles' Antigona, Calderon de la Barca's La vida es sueno (Life is a Dream), and the musical Un sueno hecho realidad (A Dream Come True) with the Carrusel group, winning the Opus 1983 award for the best theatre music. At the same time she began to devote herself to the project of reviving Guatemalan music from the Renaissance and baroque with the ensemble, now renamed Capella Antiqua. They were awarded the "15th of September" Central American Music Prize in 1985.

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