Régine Crespin

Born in Marseilles on 23 February 1927, the French soprano Régine Crespin planned to become a pharmacist but changed her mind after winning a singing competition and instead studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Paul Cabanel and Georges Jouatte.

Performing first in France, she was invited to Bayreuth by Wieland Wagner to sing Kundry in Parsifal, and success there triggered an international career which led her to perform at New York's Metropolitan Opera for 25 years.

She retired from singing in 1989 but continued to teach, and died in Paris on 5 July 2007, aged 80.