Scotto presents a public master class and hosts a final recital of her students. She also attends a benefit to support the academy. In 2006, that benefit will feature tenor Marcello Giordani. Renata Scotto was born in Savona, Italy. She made her operatic debut in her home town on Christmas Eve of 1952 at the age of 18 in front of a sold-out house as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata.
The next day, she made her 'official' opera debut at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan as Violetta. Shortly after, she performed in her first Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly, in Savona and was paid twenty-five thousand lire. In 1953, R. Scotto auditioned at La Scala for the role of Walter in Catalani's La Wally with Renata Tebaldi and Mario del Monaco. After her audition, one of the judges, the conductor Victor de Sabata, was heard to say, "Forget about the rest." La Wally opened on December 7, 1953 and Scotto was called back for fifteen curtain calls.
Tebaldi and Del Monaco each received seven. Scotto's major breakthrough came in 1957: In Edinburgh, La Scala had performed Bellini's La Sonnambula with Maria Callas as Amina. The production had been so successful that La Scala had decided to add another performance. However, Callas who was exhausted and also had prior commitments (Elsa Maxwell was hosting a party for her in Venice) told the La Scala officials that she would not be available for the extra performance. Despite this, La Scala went ahead and announced the extra performance--with Callas as Amina--which Callas refused to sing.
With two days notice, Scotto learned the role of Amina and replaced her on September 3, 1957. The performance was a great success, and 23-year-old Scotto became an international opera star. Some of Renata Scotto's finest recordings came from the late 1950s and 1960s although they are often (unfairly) ignored in favour of her remakes from the 1970s and 1980s. Examples of Scotto at her best are her Lucia from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor alongside Giuseppe di Stefano and Ettore Bastianini in a recording from 1959 as well as her Mimi from Puccini's La Boheme alongside Gianni Poggi and Tito Gobbi (conducted by Antonino Votto on Deutsche Grammophon - recorded early 1960s). One recording that cannot be ignored, however, is her fantastic recording as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly from the mid 1960s alongside Carlo Bergonzi and Rolando Panerai, conducted by Barbirolli (EMI). On October 13, 1965, Scotto made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly.
She sang at the Met regularly through 1987 and settled to live in nearby Westchester County. In 1970, Scotto performed for a hostile audience for the first time in her career. While singing Elena in Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, there was a demonstration from a small but very loud group shouting, "Brava, Callas". They continued to shout "Maria, Maria" and more "Brava, Callas" with Maria Callas sitting in the stage box watching Scotto's performance! Callas, though, would not acknowledge the shouts of the hecklers and instead gave Scotto a standing ovation at the end of her performance. For more than 40 years, Renata Scotto has performed in operas written by 18 composers and her repertoire includes some forty-five roles. She is best known for her performances as Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi (and occasionally Musetta) in La bohème, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, all three leading soprano roles in Puccini's Il Trittico and Francesca in Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini. Scotto's opening night Norma in 1981 was less than a great success as she was booed.
Her subsequent performances at the Met during the 1981-82 season were very successful as they were on the tour. Another performance at the Met, a Telecast performance of Luisa Miller was interrupted by a voice from the back of the house crying "Brava Maria Callas!" in the silence before her first aria (the performance has been released on DVD with the interruption edited out). In more recent years, Renata Scotto took on the roles of Fedora (Barcelona, 1988), the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (Charleston Spoleto Festival, 1992), Kundry in Parsifal (Schwerin, 1995), Elle in La Voix Humaine (Florence, 1993; Barcelona, 1996; Torino, 1999), Marie in The Medium (Torino, 1999) and Klytemnestra in Elektra (Baltimore, 2000). Since 1996, her concert appearances included Berlioz's Les nuits d'été, lieder of Mahler and Strauss, as well as Schoenberg's Erwartung with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra and RAI Orchestra of Torino. Scotto's director credits include Madama Butterfly (Arena di Verona, Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera), Bellini's Il pirata (Festival Belliniano, Catania, 1993) and La sonnambula (Catania, 1994), an Emmy Award-winning telecast of La traviata (New York City Opera, 1995), Norma (Finnish National Opera), Adriana Lecouvreur (Santiago, 2002), La Wally (Dallas, Bern), and La Bohème (Lyric Opera of Chicago, 2007). She is currently scheduled to direct La sonnambula (Michigan Opera Theatre) and La Wally (Teatro Comunale di Bologna). Read more on Last.fm.
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