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SPAIN - Valencia
CEO: Patricia Murray.
B. Sc. (Communication) Navarre University - Pamplona, SPAIN.
M. A. (Communication) Valencia University - Valencia, SPAIN.
M. Sc. (Journalism) Columbia University - New York, USA.
























The Opera Programme for 2016-2017 was presented in Valencia in the Palau de les Arts Opera House by manager Davide Livermore who was accompanied by Vicente Marza, Valencia Government Councillor of Culture and Sports, and with an unusual muse - Lucrezia Bori.

To see details of the programme click HERE


possible shenanigans in the Municipal Cemetery of Valencia

" 'twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" (1), .... and ...... OUT SHE POPPED. Three days later, Vicente Borja, a Commander in the Spanish army in Valencia, registered his baby daughter Lucrecia Natividad, who like all Spanish children would bear her father's surname and also that of her mother, Asuncion Gonzalez de Riancho (who hailed from Santander).(02)

As her parents gazed at their bundle of joy Lucrecia Natividad Borja Gonzalez de Riancho, nothing could presage that one day she would save the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

I first heard of Lucrecia Borja when the Palau de les Arts Opera House in the City of Arts and Science in Valencia named Lucrezia Bori as their Muse for the opera season 2016-2017. (page03)

Through her birth certificate I discovered she had been born on the 24th December 1897, in Pelayo Street, Burriana, in the Province of Castellon, one of three provinces, that together with Valencia and Alicante, make up the Valencian Region.

At an early age Lucrecia's parents enrolled her at the Musical Academy (Conservatorio de Musica) in Valencia where she had singing classes and piano lessons, and was later sent to Milan, Italy, to further her singing career. (04)

It cannot have been easy for her to forge a path to success in Italy where the name Lucrecia Borja (Borgia) brought to mind her famous (or rather infamous) Renaissance ancestor, the Lucrecia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI and of whom it was said she warmed many a bed in Rome, including that of one of her brothers Caesar.

Be that as it may, Lucrecia the soprano changed her stage name to Lucrezia Bori.

In June1910, the Metropolitan Opera of New York went on its first tour to perform in Paris. While there, the leading soprano took ill and research around Europe looking for a stand-in resulted in the producers "finding" Lucrezia in Rome and offering her the part.

When the Metropolitan Opera Company returned to New York at the end of their tour, Lucrezia was taken with them, and thus began her lifelong love affair with the Met!

After the Wall Street crash of 1929, many patrons of the Met dropped their sponsorship and in 1933 the Opera Company realized that while all seats for the 1933-1934 season were sold, the lack of sponsors meant there could be no performances.

So, Lucrezia Bori, whose DNA included the blood of two popes (Calixto III and Alexander VI), and one saint (Saint Francis de Borja), (5) rolled up her sleeves symbolically and initiated a "Save the Met Campaign" with appeals on the radio, in the press and elsewhere, (6) and raised the sum of 300,000 dollars, thus saving the Met and enabling the 1933 and 1934 performances to delight its patrons.

The following year ,Lucrezia repeated the campaign and raised another 300,000 dollars to cover the cost of the 1934 and 1935 performances.

In gratitude for her outstanding contribution Lucrezia was the first artist ever to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Met. Known as the Darling of the Met and as Lucrezia the Magnificent,Lucrezia not only took part in operas but was chosen by many of the new record companies starting up around the United States of America as their "Star". (07)

The new "voice sounding machines" or "radios" also sought out Lucrezia Bori to entertain their audiences, and articles about the "Darling of the Met" appeared in many newspapers and magazines.(08)

Although Lucrezia sang in the arms of many renowned (and handsome) partners, such as Count John MacCormac from Ireland, Enrico Caruso from Italy, among others, she never married and is quoted as saying that an artist should only be married to her art.

Unfortunately Lucrezia had to be operated on for some nodules in her throat and between and was unable to sing. She returned to the MET in and sang till her retirement in although she continued on the Board of Executives of the Met.

In May 1960 Lucrezia had a brain hemorrhage and was admitted to the Hospital in New York where she passed away on the May-

Her funeral mass, which took place in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York was celebrated by Cardinal Spellman and was attended by executives and members of the Metropolitan Opera Company and by diplomats from the Spanish Embassy in New York, among other dignitaries.

Lucrezia Bori received a temporary burial in Heaven's Gate Cemetery in New York and the following November was taken to Valencia where she received permanent burial in her own crypt. (09)


I found Lucrecia Borja's crypt in the Municipal Cemetery of Valencia (9) and a visit to the cemetery archives revealed a page in the registry book indicating that Lucrecia Borja had herself purchased the crypt in 1956 and had both her parents brought from their graves in the Burriana Cemetery to her crypt in Valencia. (10)

An uncle was also brought from Cuba (where he seems to have died in the Spanish War in Cuba) and buried with her parents.

The register likewise reveals that Lucrecia herself is buried there as well as her brother. All with the Borja surname.

A young man by the name of is also buried there, as are the ashes belonging to his father.

In the hope of contacting with Lucrecia Borja's lawyers with a view to finding the recipients of the funds left by Lucrecia in her Will to aid orphans, I asked to see some of the correspondence to the cemetery from Lucrecia's lawyers either in the United States or in Valencia. The official at the cemetery told me he would look for them, so when a few days later I received a phone call to visit the archives regarding some documents I readily went there, to be confronted by the director and sub-director who told me "THERE ARE NO DOCUMENTS".

But, I countered, "who gave the instruction to have Lucrecia's parents brought from Burriana and who gave the order for the other burials?"

"We have no documents because after all we are talking about a purchase in 1956, which is a long time ago".

"But the ashes were placed in the crypt in 2002, so there should be documents from that burial". They both shook their heads "NO".

"Then how is this man buried there?" I asked. "Because he was probably placed in the crypt with his son" they answered.

"And who authorized the burial of the son in the first place?. Because I am sure a hearse did not just drive up to the door of the cemetery and tell the doorman to place the coffin in Lucrecia Borja's crypt?

They both looked me in the eye and insisted "No Documents" and although I looked to see if either of their noses was starting to grow in size, I could not help thinking of the words of the Bard "something is rotting in the State of Denmark" (and in this case it certainly was not the deceased in the cemetery.)

So we have documents from Lucrecia Borgia dating from but no documents relating to a property bought by Lucrecia Borja in 1956 in the Municipal Cemetery of Valencia.

And this begs the question. If these two strange burials were carried out in the crypt belonging to the Borja family, how many more crypts in the Municipal Cemetery of Valencia have non-authorized burials?.




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