Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday: Renata Tebaldi

"O leggiadri occhi belli"
Renata Ersilia Clotilde Tebaldi was born on February 1, 1922 in Pesaro, Italy. Her parents were cellist Teobaldo Tebaldi and singer turned nurse Giuseppina Barbieri. After her parents separated, she moved with her mother to Langhirano in the Province of Parma to grow up. It was the verismo repertoire as well as lyric and dramatic roles that made up most of her career. She was one of the most beloved lirico-spinto sopranos of the post-war period.

- Stricken with polio at age 3
- Member of the church choir at Langhirano
- Started piano at age thirteen and dreamed of a career as concert pianist
- Studied with Italo Brancucci, Ettore Campogalliani, Carmen Melis and Giuseppe Pais
- Her first public performance was singing "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" from Catalani's La Wally at the theatre in Urbino
- At 22, she made her opera debut as Elena in Boito's Mefistofele in Rovigo
- In 1944 Arturo Toscanini dubbed her "voce d'angelo"
- Made La Scala debut in concert that she sang "Dal tuo stellato soglio" from Rossini's Mosè in Egitto and Verdi's Te Deum
- Took on roles of Margherita, Elena, Elsa, Aida and Desdemona early in her career
- Her voice was used for Sophia Loren's singing in the film version of Aida (1953)
- She was called "Miss Sold Out" by New York audiences for her performances at the Metropolitan Opera in La bohèmeTosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, La Fanciulla del West, Otello, La forza del destino, Simon Boccanegra, Falstaff, Andrea Chénier, La Gioconda and La traviata
- Maria Callas said comparing her with Tebaldi was like comparing "champagne with cognac"
- Sang in 1,262 performances of 1,048 complete operas and 214 concerts
- Retired from the stage in 1973 and from the concert hall in 1976.
- Spent her last days in Milan and died on December 19, 2004, at age 82 in her San Marino home
- She is buried in the family chapel at Mattaleto cemetery (Langhirano)

1 comment:

  1. Tebaldi had the most beautiful voice of the opera.
    Her voice was rich, warm, powerful, feminine.
    There is nobody singing today has that kind of voice. She was great.