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Luisa Ronstadt Espinel  (b. 1892, d. 1963)
Luisa Ronstadt Espinel Luisa Ronstadt Espinel Temple of Music and Art
Luisa Ronstadt Espinel, the daughter of Tucson pioneers, became a nationally known musician and a leader in the preservation and performance of Spanish songs and dances. She performed in the role of Verdi's Il Trovatore in 1917 to raise funds to build the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson.

Region: Tucson and Southern Arizona
Theme: Women in the Arts

Luisa Ronstadt was born to Tucson pioneers, Federico Ronstadt and his wife, Sara Levin, who came from an early Jewish family. Luisa inherited her musical skills from her father who founded one of Tucson's first orchestras, Club Filarmonico Tucsonese. Luisa became a singer and dancer who enjoyed a prosperous professional career from 1915 to the 1930s, performing under the stage name of Luisa Espinel. During the 1920s, she traveled in Europe, studying folk songs in Spain for two years and spending one year in France. She researched songs and dances dating back to the 13th century at the Spanish National Library in Madrid. In 1927, she debuted at the Edyth Totten Theatre in New York City, performing historic Spanish songs and dances. This began her national and international tour with performances at the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C. and at universities and colleges.

In 1946, she published a collection of folksongs, Canciones de mi Padre: Spanish Folksongs from Southern Arizona. Luisa learned these songs from her father, who in turn had learned them from his relatives who hailed from Sonora, Mexico. Later, Luisa Espinel's niece, well-known singer Linda Rodstadt, performed and recorded two albums of Mexican folk music entitled Canciones de mi Padre and Mas Canciones de mi Padre.

Luisa Ronstadt Espinel is connected to the Temple of Music and Art. She helped to raise funds for the building and later performed there. Visit the Temple of Music and Art at 330 S. Scott Avenue in Tucson.

Photo Credits:
Luisa Ronstadt Espinel - Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society, Tucson
Luisa Ronstadt Espinel - Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society, Tucson
Temple of Music and Art - Courtesy of the Arizona Theatre Company

 

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