The Funeral Singer

Lynn Wyatt arranges for Houston soprano to sing at Nancy Reagan funeral

Lynn Wyatt arranges for Houston soprano to perform at Reagan funeral

The close friendship between Nancy and Ronald Reagan and Lynn and Oscar Wyatt played out at the funeral of the former first lady which had a beautiful Houston connection.

When Nancy Reagan's pre-arranged plans for another famous diva to sing at her funeral fell through, Lynn Wyatt stepped in to help line up Houston-based soprano, Grammy Award-winning Ana María Martínez to perform.

Following the reading of a letter from Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Martínez sang a moving rendition of "Ava Maria." After Diane Sawyer's reading of John 14:1-6, the star of Houston Grand Opera's recent Rusalka then moved the audience with Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Pie Jesu-Requiem."

As fate would have it, Martínez was already in Los Angeles, starring in the Los Angeles Opera production of Madame Butterfly.

"She's a fabulous singer, world renowned in the opera world," Wyatt said. "She is so down to earth and accessible. She is the most un-diva diva ever."

During the Reagan presidency, the Wyatts were overnight guests at the White House on three occasions. And Nancy and Lynn exchanged frequent phone calls on weekends.

Ana Maria Martinez sings at Nancy Reagan funeral
Ana María Martínez, a favorite of Houston Grand Opera audiences, sang two songs at the funeral of former first lady Nancy Reagan. Photo courtesy of MSNBC
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