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    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
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    Renata Scotto

    I would like to learn more about her. I have read her wikipedia entry, but I am interested in what forum members think.

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I remember my boss going to opening night of the Met in 1981 when Renata Scotto sang "Norma" opposite Tatiana Troyanos and Placido Domingo:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/23/ar...t-opening.html

    He made the performance sound much worse than the review does - lots of booing.

    I saw Scotto in recital at the Kennedy Center sometime in the early to mid 80s, where she was excellent - far better than I expected

  3. #3
    Schigolch
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    Ms. Scotto was a great singer, but Norma, she was not.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    A friend who attended one of those Norma performances made it sound like a near-riot broke out. Some people in the audience were actually screaming invective at the poor woman. Having encountered nothing but generally well-behaved audiences at the Met (aside from the occasional blabbermouth), I find it difficult to even imagine such a scene. Not that I doubt it happened . . .

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    Senior Member Involved Member Tardis's Avatar
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    There's a very interesting anecdote in the book Molto Agitato that talks about opening night. When Scotto made her entrance for the night, someone actually screamed "Brava, Callas!"
    Apparently, she and Callas had a bit of rivalry.
    From what I have read, the cult of personality around divas nowadays doesn't seem to be as vociferous as it used to be.
    Even the "rivalry" between Gheorghiu vs. Netrebko has kind of petered out. Anna has basically won.
    Or maybe there are a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that doesn't see the light of day.

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Please forgive me - this is an aside from the Renata Scotto subject for another of my reminiscenses, but I'm not sure where else to put it.

    Anyway, I remember a performance of Aida at the Met in the early 80s, with Carlo Bergonzi singing Radames (probably had no business at that point, but..). It was hard to hear the singing over the orchestra (conducted by Guiseppe Patane), and Bergonzi's voice broke at the (high C?) in Celeste Aida. The whole opera house gasped at the same time, which was an amazing sound. At the conclusion, there was a loud ovation for Mr. Bergonzi and the other principals, but Mr. Patane was booed within an inch of his life, with shredded programs hurled from the balconies. A very interesting evening.

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    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tardis View Post
    There's a very interesting anecdote in the book Molto Agitato that talks about opening night. When Scotto made her entrance for the night, someone actually screamed "Brava, Callas!"
    Apparently, she and Callas had a bit of rivalry.
    From what I have read, the cult of personality around divas nowadays doesn't seem to be as vociferous as it used to be.
    I think it depends on who the divas are. For instance, I don't recall ever hearing a whiff of scandal or rivalry about Joan Sutherland, who was famous for her serene temperament and easygoing manner. The big rival of Callas was supposedly Renata Tebaldi, which is odd because their respective repertoires did not overlap that much. Lanfranco Rasponi(Tebaldi's press agent, and so admittedly an interested party)recounts an incident at a performance of Aida in which Callas(in the audience)made a big fuss over a piece of lost jewelry, summoning ushers with flashlights & etc., just as Tebaldi(on stage) was about to launch into 'O patria mia', a notoriously nerve-wracking sing for the lead soprano. And of course there is the infamous 'Coca-Cola' remark allegedly made by Callas. I agree that such goings-on don't seem to occur nowadays as much as they used to, despite Eva Marton stopping cold in the middle of Tosca Act I to berate the audience, or Scotto screaming 'Siete gente di merda!'(I'd rather not translate, but you get the idea) at the audience in a San Francisco La gioconda.

  9. #8
    Schigolch
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    Ms. Scotto started her career singing Sonnambula, Lucia, Mimí, Rigoletto, Traviata... then she deemed herself a modern reincarnation of the 'soprano drammatico d'agilità' and she tackled not only Norma, also Tosca, Lady Macbeth, Amelia... even Abigaille!. Roles that were not really suitable for her light-lyrical instrument.

    Her timbre was not conventionally beautiful to start with, and it turned into something unpleasant trying to manage those demanding parts above.

    In my view, it would have been much better to sing "Anna Bolena", "Maria Stuarda", "Lucrezia Borgia",...

    However, when she sang those 'other' roles, she never tried to 'far la voce grossa', or degenerated into a shriek. She was always using legato, looking for the nuances of the character, with a variety of accents, a very capable and original phraser. It was a real creative process. With rather indifferent results, true, what makes it sadder, in a way.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tardis View Post
    There's a very interesting anecdote in the book Molto Agitato that talks about opening night. When Scotto made her entrance for the night, someone actually screamed "Brava, Callas!"
    Apparently, she and Callas had a bit of rivalry.
    From what I have read, the cult of personality around divas nowadays doesn't seem to be as vociferous as it used to be.
    Even the "rivalry" between Gheorghiu vs. Netrebko has kind of petered out. Anna has basically won.
    Or maybe there are a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that doesn't see the light of day.
    No rivalry with Callas according to Scotto in her book, Scotto, More Than a Diva. When the press first questioned Renata about rivalry with Callas, Renata responded , "I have not met Maria Callas, actually. But I admire her immensely. She is a great singer."
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    If opera is finally free of this sort of "rivalry" silliness, it's all to the good. For me -- and many others, I suspect -- admiring Anna Netrebko does not preclude admiring Angela Gheorghiu. I have recordings by both of them that I enjoy very much.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    If opera is finally free of this sort of "rivalry" silliness, it's all to the good. For me -- and many others, I suspect -- admiring Anna Netrebko does not preclude admiring Angela Gheorghiu. I have recordings by both of them that I enjoy very much.
    Renata said (same book; get that last line),
    Opera was not born with Maria Callas, and it did not die with her death. Opera did not die with the death of Malibran or Ponselle. It will not die wihen I am gone. It lives on, as it must, in new voices. Callas may well be a beautiful memory against which many great sopranos will be measured, but each artist has her time. Callas had hers then, before mine. The competition and polemics were imagined and perpetuated by sick fanatics.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Junior Member Recent member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    No rivalry with Callas according to Scotto in her book, Scotto, More Than a Diva. When the press first questioned Renata about rivalry with Callas, Renata responded , "I have not met Maria Callas, actually. But I admire her immensely. She is a great singer."
    She also praises Callas's legato and use of portamento, a device best left alone if a singer doesn't know how to use it properly. Scotto also had a good legato, and used portamento correctly. Her diction was also extremely good.

    As it happens, I am listening to the Verdi disc she made for CBS in 1975 at the moment, and it's very impressive. The voice can turn squally and harden at the top, but ther compensations are great. She sings with a real dramatic involvement and in the middle register, the voice is often quite beautiful.

    For the most part, I rather like her, though I agree with Shigolch when he says she should never have tackled Norma.
    "If the public could understand, as we do, how deeply and utterly musical Callas is, they would be stunned." Victor De Sabata

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    I saw Scotto perform Juliette with Corelli as Romeo. Aside from the obvious issue with blatantly non-idiomatic French pronunciation, it was a well done performance overall. Or maybe because it was my first exposure to this opera, it seemed such. But Mme Scotto made a lot of people happy and that is no mean feat.

  20. #14
    Junior Member Recent member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    I saw Scotto perform Juliette with Corelli as Romeo. Aside from the obvious issue with blatantly non-idiomatic French pronunciation, it was a well done performance overall. Or maybe because it was my first exposure to this opera, it seemed such. But Mme Scotto made a lot of people happy and that is no mean feat.
    I don't know how Scotto would have sounded, but she sounds idiomatic enough in the love duet after Tybalt's death in a studio recording with Domingo, even if her French pronunication isn't great. On the other hand, I just can't take Corelli as Roméo in the recording with Freni. Quite aside from his French being execrable, he attacks the music as if it were by Mascagni. Poor Gounod is bludgeoned to death.
    "If the public could understand, as we do, how deeply and utterly musical Callas is, they would be stunned." Victor De Sabata

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