Renata Scotto, 1934–2023

The Metropolitan Opera mourns the death of one of our most illustrious divas of the last century, Renata Scotto. Her 1965 Met debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly revealed her to be an extraordinarily compelling and complete artist, with the ability to create a deeply moving character through magnetic stage presence, expressive musical phrasing, and unfailingly dramatic delivery of the Italian text. While Butterfly remained her most memorable portrayal and served as her final performance in 1987, Scotto sang a total of 26 roles with the company, giving more than 300 performances on the Met stage. She portrayed lead soprano roles in eight new production premieres, including the company’s first staging of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and two operas that had not been heard for generations, Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète and Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini. Her repertory encompassed a wide spectrum of Italian works from verismo melodramas such as Manon Lescaut and Adriana Lecouvreur to bel canto masterpieces such as Lucia di Lammermoor and Norma to lesser-known Verdi operas such as Luisa Miller and I Vespri Siciliani. In 1977, Scotto’s artistry was shared with a huge national audience when the Met first teamed up with PBS for a live telecast of La Bohème, her heart-rending performance as Mimì bringing her wider fame and making her a media personality. She would go on to star in eight more Met telecasts of complete operas and many more radio broadcasts.

Scotto’s visceral, total immersion in the characters she portrayed made her a vital exemplar of the grand Italian operatic style that underlies much of the standard repertory. After her retirement from singing, she continued to pass on this legacy as a teacher, regularly giving coachings to members of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and offering invaluable advice to many of today’s leading artists. She is affectionately remembered by many at the Met, her former pupils, administrators, and staff, as well as by her legions of admirers. We offer our sincerest condolences to her daughter, Laura, her son, Filippo, and to all of her family and friends.


1978 Otello scotto otello slide scan b.jpgAs Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, 1978 


1980_Manon_Scotto_James Heffernan.jpgIn the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, 1980 


Boheme with Scotto 1977a.jpgAs Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, opposite tenor Luciano Pavarotti as Rodolfo, in the inaugural Live from the Met telecast, 1977 


Scotto as Lady Macbeth studio color.jpgAs Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth, 1982 


Scotto, Renata Elizabeth of Valois Don Carlo001.jpgAs Elisabetta di Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo, 1979 


Scotto, Renata Vitellia La Clemenza di Tito__James Heffernan 003.jpgAs Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, 1984 


Scotto, Renata_Suor Angelica_Angelica _Heffernan (2).jpgIn the title role of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, 1981 


20120322 metwshop010a cr Ron Berard-Met Opera.jpgCoaching Lindemann Young Artist Luthando Qave, 2012