Renata Tebaldi

Italian opera singer

Renata Tebaldi (February 1, 1922 - December 19, 2004) was an Italian operatic soprano and one of the leading lyric-dramatic sopranos of the postwar period. She possessed a voice of great beauty and considerable power which she used with unfailing musicianship and style.

Renata Tebaldi Madame Butterfly Bell Telephone Hour

Life and career


Born in Pesaro, Italy, she studied first at the Parma Conservatory with Branducci and Campogaliani, and at the Pesaro Conservatory with Carmen Melis and Giuseppe Pais. She made her debut in Rovigno in 1944, as Elena in Mefistofele.

She was chosen by conductor Arturo Toscanini to sing at the reopening of La Scala in Milan in 1946, where she sang until 1954. She also appeared at all the major opera houses of Italy.

She then began singing abroad and made her debut at the Royal Opera House in 1950, at the Paris Opéra in 1951, and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955, where she was to sing regularly until 1973. She also appeared in San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, etc.

She was particularly admired in operas like Verdi's La forza del destino, Aida, Otello, Puccini's Manon Lescaut, La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Ponchielli's La Gioconda, Boito's Mefistofele, Giordano's Andrea Chénier, Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Catalini's La Wally.

Renata Tebaldi retired from the stage in 1977. She died at her home in San Marino, at the age of 82.

The so-called rivalry between Tebaldi and soprano Maria Callas was mostly fueled by admirers of these two singers and by the press.


  • The Complete Dictionary of Opera & Operetta, James Anderson, Wings Books, 1993.

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