|Was||Singer Opera singer|
|Birth||12 July 1953, Fukuoka, Japan|
|Death||15 July 2004, Milan, Italy (aged 51 years)|
Yoko Watanabe (渡辺 葉子, Watanabe Yōko, June 12, 1953 – July 15, 2004) was a Japanese operatic soprano who spent much of her career singing the title role of Madame Butterfly all over Europe.
Yoko was born in Kitakyushu sity, Fukuokaprefecture. Her father practiced medicine at this city. First she studied piano, and after studied vocal in her high school age. She entered Tokyo University of the Arts, and continued to singing. When she was graduate student, she studied at Teatro alla Scala Academy of Lyric Opera. She came out a role "Nedda" of Pagliacci in 1953. And after this debut, she sung in Italy. She was also known for her large repertoire including such works as Micaela in Carmen, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Marguerite in Faust and Amelia in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Watanabe died after a long battle with cancer in her Milan home at the age of 51.
Yoko graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1976 then she left for Italy to study opera. She spent two years at an institute tied to La Scala, Milan's opera house. In 1978, the 25-year-old Ms. Watanabe made her debut in Europe, then mostly performed in Italy. She returned to Japan in 1985 for her much-celebrated first performance at home with the Fujiwara Opera troupe, as Butterfly in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly." It was to be her signature role.