Singers on Singing: Renata Scotto


Photo: Renata Scotto as the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Photo credit: Louis Mélaçon/Metropolitan Opera

Soprano Renata Scotto, for some decades now a legend in her own time, has the highly unusual distinction of having begun her career as an exceptionally agile and virtuoso lyrical coloratura in early 19th Century bel canto repertoire after which she subsequently flowered into one of the most powerfully dramatic spinto singing-actresses of the last 50 years, mastering the very demanding roles of Verdi, Puccini and verismo composers and infusing their works with intense vocal and theatrical color. Few singers have been so remarkably and ideally suited to such differing styles, and many people have felt that in the sophistication and depth of her acting she exerted an influence on later singers that could be compared to that of Maria Callas. Her remarkable story is related by herself in a rare interview that formed the main content of a documentary about her life and career that was jointly produced and aired by the WFMT Radio Network and Radio New Zealand Concert in February 2014, and the feature has the special added distinction of baritone Thomas Hampson as the host. As well as discussing her roles in detail, Renata Scotto is invaluably informative about the learning and teaching of singing technique – very specifically in that order, as listeners to the documentary will discover. Details of all the music that is contained in the feature follow below.

–Jon Tolansky

Listen to the documentary immediately below (length: approx. 1 hour, 48 min.)


Thomas Hampson

Musical excerpts included in this feature:

  • Excerpt from La Sonnambula (Bellini, from the album La Sonnambula)
  • Excerpt from La Wally (Catalani, from the album La Wally)
  • Excerpt from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti, from the album Lucia di Lammermoor)
  • Excerpt from Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni, from the album Cavalleria Rusticana)
  • Excerpt from La Gioconda (Ponchielli, from the album La Gioconda)
  • Excerpt from Madama Butterfly (Puccini, from the album Madama Butterfly)
  • Excerpt from Suor Angelica (Puccini, from the album Il Trittico)
  • Excerpt from Nabucco (Verdi, from the album Nabucco)
  • Excerpt from Otello (Verdi, from the album Otello (Domingo))
  • Excerpt from Otello (Verdi, from the album Otello (Vickers))
  • Excerpt from Rigoletto (Verdi, from the album Rigoletto)
  • Excerpt from La Traviata (Verdi, from the album La Traviata)

Related Resources


Singers on Singing: The Performer’s Perspective


Singers on Singing :
Maria Callas


Singers on Singing :
Giuseppe Di Stefano


Singers on Singing :
Luciano Pavarotti


Singers on Singing :
Renata Tebaldi


Singers on Singing :
Jon Vickers


Singers on Singing: Jon Vickers–A Memoir


Singers on Singing :
Marilyn Horne

Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation