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Poland's Villas, once Las Vegas star, laid to rest

A government official, family members and hundreds of fans have bid farewell to Violetta Villas, a Polish coloratura soprano who spurned opera for popular music and once reigned in a Las Vegas cabaret.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A government official, family members and hundreds of fans have bid farewell to Violetta Villas, a Polish coloratura soprano who spurned opera for popular music and once reigned in a Las Vegas cabaret.

Villas died earlier this month at her home of untreated pneumonia and complications from a broken leg. She was 73 and lived alone in southern Poland.

Her funeral at Warsaw's Powazki cemetery, a burial ground for many of Poland's celebrities, drew hundreds of fans of her powerful voice that spanned four octaves.

Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski said in a message that her "unique talent will not be forgotten."

From 1966 to 1969, Villas sang at a Las Vegas cabaret alongside luminaries such as Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.