Monday, February 21, 2011

Renata Scotto Remains A Private Citizen Of The World

The 1984 autobiography tell-all
"Usually, in the houses of the older men and women who once dominated the stages of the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala and Covent Garden, there is a piano. The piano, in fact, is the focal point of the house. It’s the reminder of past glory, what they gave their lives to. It’s there in the corner when you walk in the door, sheet music at the ready and crowded with fading photos in costume, backstage shots. In Renata Scotto’s house there is no piano. A decade after retiring, following a career that lasted over 50 years and was one of the greatest in twentieth-century opera, Scotto never sings, not even in the shower. She keeps a single photograph in the house of herself in costume (as an imperious Lady Macbeth at the Met), and she hangs it under the staircase. With few exceptions, her friends aren’t fellow
Scotto in Florence (1961)
singers or musicians. This is how she wants it. 'You can ask a thousand people about the kind of person I am,' she said last week over espresso and cookies in her living room in Westchester, leaning back on her couch and laughing as she drew out the 'thousand' in the thick Italian accent that’s stayed with her through decades of living in the United States. 'I would never have a moment where I said, ‘Ohh, I can’t sing anymore, it’s too bad because I can do it better than so-and-so.’ I’m happy the way I am, and so interested in so many things. I’ve never had a piano in my house. I’ve always kept it separate.'" [Source]

Scotto on her wedding day. Husband, Lorenzo Anselmi, is on the far right. Tenor Nicola Monti is to the left of the soprano.
"'Before I met my husband,' she said, 'I was a little bit, let’s say, too much of a singer. I was not a complete artist and my husband worked with me to be more of an artist, more of a musician. More of a professional. Before I met my husband I would come late to rehearsal, and say, the conductor has to do this, has to follow me, has to give this long note. And my husband said, ‘No, no, no, this is not music, this is prima donna.’ I
Cover of an early EMI disc
was very young, I was 24 when I met my husband. And he taught me to be more professional, and when I came to this country even more, because in Italy you feel like really you are special, a little snobbish. When you come to U.S. at this time, in the seventies, here you’re not the only one. They don’t need you. You have to prove yourself. You’re not relaxing, and in Italy I probably was relaxing. But I didn’t want that. I wanted to be international. And here I found everything I wanted.'"