Known for her dramatic singing style, Renata Scotto excels in the Italian repertoire, including Bellini's Lorma and Puccini's Madame Butterfly. She has performed in more than 45 operas all over the world and has worked with such singers as Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco.
Born in Italy in 1934, Renata Scotto made her operatic debut in her hometown of Savona on Christmas Eve 1952 in Verdi's La Traviata. She made her professional opera debut at the Teatro Nuovo as Violetta, a role she earned by winning the Milan Lyric Association competition. With a blooming musical career, she auditioned for the part of Walter in Alfredo Catalani's La Wally, performed at La Scala in Milan. She instantly received the part and was called back for fifteen curtain calls on opening night, Dec. 7, 1953. Her co-stars, Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco only received seven curtain calls. Scotto's popularity continued to grow as she performed for La Scala.
In 1957, the company of La Scala had been in Edinburgh performing Bellini's La Sonnambula, with Maria Callas as Amina. Due to the enormous interest in the show, La Scala decided to add more performances. When Callas refused to do another performance, Scotto was called to replace her. With the success of her performance in this role, she became an international star.
With her operatic success came personal success as well. In June 1960, Scotto married Lorenzo Anselmi; the couple eventually had two children, Laura and Filippo. Also in 1960, Scotto performed at the Royal Opera House as Mimi in La Bohème. She made her first appearance in the United States with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1965 as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. A quote from the New York Herald Tribune called the performance "an occasion for rejoicing, and there was plenty of it in the form of applause and welcoming shouts to the new artist who, above all, is distinctly an individual."
While playing Elena in Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani in 1970, Renata Scotto performed for her first hostile audience. During her performance, a small group began shouting Maria Callas' name. Callas was present at the performance but would not acknowledge the demonstrators. Instead, she gave Scotto a standing ovation.
For more than four decades, Scotto has performed various opera roles including Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Francesca in Francesca da Rimini. She won an Emmy for her role in La Gioconda in San Francisco.
With her years of experience as an opera singer, Renata Scotto now produces operas. She appeared with Ileana Cotrubas and Elena Obraztsova as the "Three Sopranos" in 1990. She lives in Westchester County with her family and also owns a home in New York City close to the Metropolitan Opera House. ~ Kim Summers