Legends: Renata Scotto

Internationally acclaimed for her sense of style and musicality, but also for remarkable acting skills, Renata Scotto is considered by the public and the critics one of the most preeminent singers of her generation. 

Born in Savona, Italy on February 24th, 1934, Renata Scotto made her operatic debut at the age of 18, in her hometown, on Christmas Eve. In front of a sold-out house, Scotto performed for the first time the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, followed immediately the next day by her second performance and her house debut at Teatro Nuovo in Milano. 

In 1953, Scotto auditioned at Teatro alla Scala, for a production of La Wally, with Tebaldi and del Monaco, where she was supposed to sing the role of Walter. This performance opened the 1953 season of La Scala and Scotto was called for not less than fifteen curtain calls, while her stage partners each receive seven. 

However, Scotto’s major breakthrough came in 1957, at the Edinburg Festival, when La Scala performed their production of Bellini’s La Sonnambula with Maria Callas as Amina. Being under contract for only four performances, Callas rejected the offer of the company for a fifth one, motivating that she had already appeared on stage against her doctor’s advice. The success of the performance brought the 23-year-old Scotto international fame. 

During the ‘60s, Scotto became one of the leading singers in the Belcanto revival initiated by Callas ten years earlier, adding to her repertoire titles as Bellini’s Zaira and La straniera, plus Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan, Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable (in Italian). This is also the moment when her American debut took place, at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Mimì.

Read the entire article & many other interviews here, in the 1st/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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