Rosita Quintana

Real name: Quintana Muñoz, Trinidad Rosa
Nicknames: La Dama de América
Singer, actress and poet
(16 July 1925 - 23 August 2021)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Abel Palermo

he was born in the neighborhood of Saavedra in the city of Buenos Aires. From early childhood she evidenced a special gift for acting, appearing at school and neighborhood parties. When she finished grade school, her parents enrolled her at the conservatory run by the brothers Emilio and José De Caro, where she studied singing and acting.

At age 15 she made her debut at the orchestra fronted by the brothers Alberto and José De Caro, alongside the singer Félix Gutiérrez. Later she switched to the Mario Azzerboni’s sextet with which she appeared to wide acclaim for a season at the historical Café Nacional on Corrientes Street.

In the mid- forties she began to appear as soloist accompanied by the guitar group led by José Canet. With them she traveled to Chile, sharing the bill on shows and on radio with the orchestra of the bandoneonist Gabriel Clausi (El Chula), who was based there and also with the one led by the Chilean bandleader Porfirio Díaz.

During that visit she was hired to appear for a month in Mexico at the renowned venue of the Aztec capital,El Patio. Her talent and beauty amazed audiences and the impresarios that summoned her for different theatrical shows and also for movies. Because of that Rosita decided to settle in the Federal District. Then she split with José Canet with whom she also had a sentimental relationship.

Once she had adjusted herself to her new circumstances she began a romance with the Mexican movie director and producer Sergio Kogan with whom she married and had two children, Sergio Nicolás and Paloma. Meanwhile her show business career kept on growing. By that time she shared the bill at theaters and the movie casts with the most important names of Latin America: José Mojica, Jorge Negrete, Pedro Vargas, Arturo de Córdova, Pedro Armendáriz and Cantinflas, among others.

Her performances were followed by important figures of the level of Agustín Lara, the young and consecrated writer Mario Vargas Llosa —who would call her La Dama de América— and a large group of admirers. Her songbook not only included tango but also Mexican and international numbers.

Her private and sentimental life was intense and busy. After her divorce from Sergio Kogan she married to her secretary Julio Chapira and, some years later, with the movie director Jorge D'Arnell.

In Mexico she was starred in nineteen movies. The first two in 1948: Ahí vienen los Mendoza and Calabacitas tiernas; the last in 2005, Club eutanasia. But the most well-known was, no doubt, Susana, carne y demonio, directed by Luis Buñuel in 1950.

In the early sixties she returned to Argentina. At the beginning in her shows she used to appear accompanied by mariachis. In 1964 she was summoned by René Mugica to appear in two films: El octavo infierno, Cárcel de mujeres, with Leonardo Favio and Lautaro Murúa and El demonio en la sangre, with Ubaldo Martínez and Ernesto Bianco. Curiously, both movies were produced by her ex- husband Sergio Kogan.

She besides made some appearances at the Caño 14 backed up by Héctor Stamponi. With the latter she would cut a couple of long-playing records because they had met in Mexico when he was the leader of the orchestra that accompanied another successful female singer of the forties, Amanda Ledesma.

Another performance of hers that is worthwhile mentioning was her leading role in My Fair Lady at the Teatro Nacional. Also her appearances in El rincón de los artistas and her part in the TV soap opera Abrázame muy fuerte.

In 2000 Ediciones Pentagrama released a CD in Mexico: Charlemos Buenos Aires with recordings made in Argentina in 1965. It turns out very interesting the line-up of the orchestra that accompanied Rosita, a true all-star group: Enrique Francini (violin), Roberto Grela (guitar), Osvaldo Berlingieri (piano), Domingo Federico (bandoneon), José Bragato (cello), Kicho Díaz (double bass). The charts were written by Héctor Stamponi and the aggregation was conducted by Carlos García. The title song is a standout with music by Stamponi and lyrics by the female singer.

I was lucky to see her on several occasions at the Caño 14 and at the El rincón de los artistas. I think she was an artist of high level with a beautiful voice and a great technique of interpretation but, above all, she was a woman with an unparalleled beauty and hierarchy.

Lastly, paraphrasing Aníbal Troilo, Rosita Quintana was a woman that never left her neighborhood. This is confirmed by her herself in one of her poems: «Your soil, my roots call me every time I’m far away from you, my Buenos Aires».