“Tonight we are paying tribute to one of the greatest and
brightest stars of the opera world, the legendary Renata Scotto,
Prima Donna Assoluta!”
– Willie Riddle, Executive Director of Venetian Arts Society
As a girl growing up in northwestern Italy during the ‘30s and ‘40s, young Renata Scotto was always surrounded by song. Her earliest memories were of her seamstress mother working away with cloth and thread while singing. That maternal influence would have a profound effect upon her life and career. “Since I was like four or five years old, I sang all the time,” Renata said. “My mamma was a seamstress and she was working all day long, she was singing, just because she had heard songs, and she repeated those songs and I was going along with her. That is how I began.”
Through the joy of song, Renata decided exactly what her goal in life would be: “Professionally I said my life is going to be a singer. A singer absolutely.” But as Renata explained further, “Not a little singer…but a big singer! I wanted to be someone and I was very determined.” Renata’s immediate family did not have the financial means to further her love of song, however she was fortunate to have an uncle who did. “I loved the opera,” Renata said. “At 12-years old, I went to the opera for
the first time with my uncle, who was my sponsor, my help, my everything and he loved opera, and he said, ‘Renata you have to become an opera star.’” Renata experienced Rigoletto at the Savona Opera House that first time. So impressed with opera, she enrolled in singing lessons under her uncle’s sponsorship. Six years later, “When I was 18, I made my debut in that theater in 1953, in my hometown of Savona,” Renata told The Gazette. The rest of Renata’s story is operatic and theatrical history spanning more than six decades and exposing millions to The Opera through both live on-stage performance and through “Live from the Met” PBS telecasts
that began in 1977.