Internationally acclaimed opera star Dame Margaret Price died suddenly at her home in the village of Moylegrove on Friday aged 69.

A native of Blackwood in Gwent she had family ties in Cardigan and north Pembrokeshire – she was a cousin to Marteine Richards of Cardigan who runs the Richards Bros coach company.

She spent many happy childhood holidays in Moylegrove and Cilgerran before embarking on an operatic career as a mezzo soprano.

During a glittering career Dame Margaret had only two singing engagements in Cardigan. In the mid 1980’s she gave a recital at the town’s Secondary School hall to raise funds for the purchase of a new grand piano for the school.

In June 1996 she shared the stage at Gwyl Fawr – Cardigan’s annual festival of music and song – with Morriston Orpheus Choir.

The sell-out audience on the Sunday night will never forget her performance when she lifted the Gwyl Fawr concert platform to new heights.

She made her operatic debut in 1962 singing Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at the Welsh National Opera and in the same year joined the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden where she sang minor roles.

Her big breakthrough came when Teresa Berganza cancelled a performance and the young Welsh singer took over and became a star overnight.

Having appeared at all the world’s top opera houses she was most famous for her Mozart portraits and was also active as a lieder singer, equally at home in the romantic idiom of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann or Richard Strauss.

She was awarded the CBE in 1982 followed by the DBE in 1993 and the Munich Opera honoured her with the Bayerische Kammersangerin.

She lived in Munich from 1971 until her retirement in 1999 when she returned to Wales and lived quietly in Moylegrove where she died on Friday morning.