Anna Moffo, 1932-2006

Unnatural Acts of Opera presents a tribute to soprano Anna Moffo, who died Thursday night.


33 Responses to “Anna Moffo, 1932-2006”

  1. marschallin Says:

    One more oldtimer bites the dust, I see. Well, nothing lasts forever. Nor should it. Come to think of it, this Moffo stopped being anything long ago. The sobbing can stop before it starts, then.

  2. paddypig Says:

    While Anna Moffo may not have reached artistic heights, she was a very beautiful woman with a beautiful lyric soprano who gave sincere performances and was immensely popular in the 1960s. She , along with people like Peters, Tucker and Merrill were also very popular on television on Firestone, Ed Sullivan etc. They helped make opera more popular in America. One of my first opera LPs was Moffo’s Traviata. I still find it a sentimental favorite among my recordings. She may not have had the dramatic intensity of Callas or Scotto, she was still a fine singer in her prime (a short prime I will admit) unfortunately, her later years were plagued by rumors of alcoholism and she often claimed to still be singing long after she had no engagements. Rather famously she would refer to singing performances such as Norma in Paraguay. She was definitely a star in her prime and an important singer at RCA studios.

  3. meretrice i. d'oscena Says:

    I’ll remember her as she was in a video from a 50’s TV appearance on Ed Sullivan or some such.

    From another room, I hear some soprano singing the pants off something from Fledermaus. I walked in to see and was stunned by this gorgeous knockout in a figure-hugging satin sheath, the hair swept up, looking and singing like a goddess.

    Her smile easily outshone her jewels, she knew that she was killing and was obviously having a great time. Suddenly, I could no longer condemn her for ruining that ‘L’amore dei Tre Re’ recording.

  4. Terry Ellsworth Says:

    What unfortunate comments from “Marschallin.” A great lady of the stage has died. In her prime, she was marvelous and one of the most beautiful women in the world. That’s how she should be remembered. RIP

  5. rysanekfreak Says:

    Like paddypig, I got the Moffo “Traviata” right at the beginning of my collecting career.

    I loved that recording. I loved her. I loved all of her TV appearances and eagerly anticipated her radio broadcasts.

  6. neiln007 Says:

    I think the “marchallin” was very unkind. Moffo had her share of disasters and got lost in Roman nightlife in the 60’s but she was a gorgeous woman and her Mozart album and her Nozze with Giulini are superb – for a certain generation of us, she was Violetta and I will miss her.

  7. meretrice i. d'oscena Says:

    Thanks for the lovely clip, Cieca.
    Anyone who could sing like that, even if it was not to last, is to be mourned.

  8. celticpriestess Says:

    I remember Anna Moffo quite fondly from when I was first interested in opera as a teenager. I recall playing her recording of Lucia and an album of Verdi arias that was reissued on RCA Gold Seal in the 70s; both got quite a bit of use!
    She sounded fresh and charming in her prime. When she sang on “The Tonight Show” in the late 1970s, I was saddened to hear what had happened to her voice at a relatively young age. However, I still enjoy what she did when she was at her best, and I’m grateful that she shared her gifts with us while she could. Addio, bella donna!

  9. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    Clearly whoever is posing under the screenname of marschallin needs to change it – I’m sorry, but that was an ingrateful and very disrespectful comment concerning a great woman. The character Marschallin would never have been so blatently rude.

    Although I never met Anna Moffo personally, I did see her when she spoke at the Rise Steven’s Gala – and she looked very beautiful even still to this day. Her position as a prima donna may have been ephermeral, but her career continued on in other veins and she stayed actively involved in the operatic community, especially when it came to encouraging and mentoring young singers – to that effect, her contributions are invaluable – and who can forget her stunning high notes – the High E at the end of “Caro nome”!!!!

  10. il stupendo Says:

    we should be really thankful for a superb singing actor who gave us so much.

  11. Baritenor Says:

    Marschallin…Please, please fuck off. Your comments were insentitive and unwarinted.

    I’m very depressed. Her Violetta, her Gilda, her Mustetta, hell, even her Hansel… all highlights of my collection. RIP, Anna.

  12. RudigerVT Says:

    Let me briefly rejoin the chorus.

    Marschallin, FUCK OFF.

    When I was but a pup in music school, the courtly former (but forever) Dean would gleefully drag you into his studio to hear — quote — the most beautiful thing ever put on record: Moffo singing the Rachmaninoff vocalise.

    I may not agree about the ‘ever’ part. But beautiful? Absolutely.

    Her place in the pantheon is assured.

  13. papagenodz Says:

    Thank you for mentioning the Rach vocalise. That album with Stokowski is one of the most ravishing things ever sung. Period.

    My very first Boheme was Moffo’s Mimi. My second Boheme was Moffo’s Musetta. I quickly bought everything of hers I could find. She was my first Susanna, my first Violetta, my first Lucia, my first Butterfly (although when Price came second, so many things changed…).

    God, she was gorgeous. She will be missed.

  14. la divina due Says:

    the news of anna’s death is most unbearable. she was a gorgeous woman with a gorgeous voice. no artist sings well forever, and to have been able to sing like she did in her prime serves as a testament to her true talent. she will most definitely be missed.
    as far as the marschallin’s comments, could you be any ruder? grow a dick and have some respect for a great artist. ugh.

  15. ffoperabitch Says:

    Moffo’s Gilda with Solti is one of my favourite recordings. I’m refraining from commenting on other artists in this recording but for me no-one else has captured in their timbre and interpretation the mix of virginal girl bubbling with hormones to betrayed and sacrificial woman so well. It has been described as “haunting” – it stays in the memory, irreplacable.

  16. Michael Farris Says:

    Has marschallin* ever made a post here that wasn’t dripping with bile?

    Perhaps some ‘bannination’ would be in order?

    *Isn’t marschallin a notorious fan of a singer who I won’t name here (it’s not her fault that she attracts psychos) who’s infested (and been banned from) numerous opera forums?

  17. Michael Farris Says:

    But getting back to Moffo: Yes, a short but wonderful prime. From what I’ve gathered she went a little off the rails in later years, but (unless I’ve badly misread the tone of teports) was not depressingly so, more colorfully eccentric and living mostly in a pleasant world of her own making, not the worst way to ride out those twilight years.

    I’m especially fond of her recordings of Luisa Miller and (don’t laugh) Hansel.
    But lots of other good stuff too.
    I have a good friend who’s crazy about her recorded German Iphigenie though most people don’t much care for it.

  18. marschallin Says:

    The problem here is not the second demise of a mysogynistic gay/American caricature such as Moffo, herself a cross between two other victims of, ironically, male homosexual mysogynism: Maria Callas and Audrey Hepburn. The real problem, thus, is the FANS, in particular those of a, well, mysogynistic bend. Very tiresome and very troubling.

  19. l'Italiana in Bristol Says:

    To “marschallin” I shall reply that his/her reading of famous singers as cultural icons with a political agenda in the realm of gender politics seem to me ludicrous. It might look “clever”, but it’s contrived and artificial. What is mysogynistic about Callas? Do you need to be gay to be drawn to their art? Does that make you a mysogynist??? The icons you mentioned are geniuses in that they have been able to enlarge our own understanding of being human through their Art, through their unique ability to communicate and move, to raise us above the horizon of daily numbness. SOrry, but Anna Moffo in her prime belongs – for my money – to this group of extra-ordinary people. Yes, she was gorgeous, and this was very much part of her persona, but had she been ugly she should still be remembered as a Great Singer: her Nannetta for Karajan opposite Alva is the best on record. What technique, what touching emotional involvement. That remains for me sublime. Who cares about all the rest.

    The fact is of course that, as far as I know, she was quite a character. Famous for her beauty, yes, but also for going off the rails, as “michael farris” mentions.

    In Italy she (in)famously performed in a Tosca in the 1980s, in Barletta. There are recordings, and it is truely demented. In an interview in the 1990s for the leading opera radio programme on Italian radio “La barcaccia”, she announced being booked to sing Norma in Stuttgard. She was, indeed, living in a delusional bubble, while still being very much part, as far as I know, of the “old guard” in operatic circles.

    With her death, we have lost another Great. It has been a few years of very sad losses… Kraus, Tebaldi, de los Angeles, Nillson, Dimitrova, Bruscantini, Sciutti, Ghiaurov, Capuccilli, Barbieri…

    Cara Anna, grazie per quello che ci hai dato e che durera’. Ci mancherai.

  20. Let us not also forget her tireless work on behalf of Eve Queler and Opera Orchestra of New York (where Moffo was a board member), raising both awareness and funds for this organization that performs two or three should-not-be-forgotten operas every year at Carnegie Hall. Also, her “Lucia” on RCA, paired with Carlo Bergonzi, is one of the best recordings that label ever put out. The love duet between those two at the end of Act I is the sort of thing that might have made Donizetti swoon.

  21. Baritenor Says:

    Wow. Even the La Cieca group has it’s own very own “Troll”, as we call them over at IMDB.

    I never saw Moffo live, but I have her video of Butterfly. And is it just me, or was she actually a pretty good actress?

  22. OperaGuyNY Says:

    Although I hesitate to dignify marschallin with a response, I simply must chime in with WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

    First, you spelled misogynist wrong.

    Second, Do you even know what a misogynist is?

    yep us gays REALLY hate, beautiful, talented generous women.

    Go troll elsewhere, freak.

    On another point. Licitra sounds really bad today…eek!

  23. Going back to La Moffo a bit…LaCieca, thank you for including that amazing “Italian Street Song” in the podcast. Anna sure gives Eleanor Steber a run for her money!

    There is an incredible LP of Anna Moffo singing Strauss and Schumann lieder that I HIGHLY recommend, specifically her ‘Cäcilie’ and ‘Stille Tränen’ (for those of you who enjoy a little lied in their lives!).

  24. Baritenor Says:

    Yeah, Licitra wasn’t in great form today, though the Met Audience eat it up. Did you hear that roaring after his Second Act Aria?. At least he was in better voice than he was for the LA Opera Tosca. I’ve concluded that I am NOT a Licitra fan.

  25. Baritenor Says:

    But back to Donna Anna (did she ever sing Giovanni? She was such a great Susana that Elvira or Zerlina surly would have sat well with her) The tribute is fantastic. I’ve never heard “If I love you sung like that. And who is that partnering her in the Traviata scene, he’s fantastic.

  26. Boringwhitegirl Says:

    Hey, I’m straight, I’m a feminist, and I really resent people using words like “misogynist” as an excuse for uninformed aesthetic opinions. Dementia can be a powerful female ideal as well — How many women can say they caused a fistfight at the Paris opera? Callas, Melba, Malibran all wrote their own rules and lived — and arguably died — by them, something very different from the rehab escapees being passed off as “divas” now. Let’s not cheapen the discussion by the name-calling that passes as political correctness these days.

  27. Opera Enthusiast Says:

    Nobody has mentioned Moffo’s superb recording of La Rondine with Danieli Barioni. I have talked about this recording with the lady herself and she has said it was one of her favorites.

    She was somebody very special. I would have loved her Luisa Miller today instead of the replacement we now have.

  28. julienned Says:

    Thank you for your tribute.

    I was stunned when they announced Anna Moffo’s death on the broadcast on Saturday. While I recognize all the problems she brought on herself by the way she handled her career, she remains on of my favorite singers.

    A friend introduced her to me when I was studying Rachmaninoff Preludes by playing her Vocalise. I can still remember how stunned I was not only with the sound of her voice, but with the way she phrased and shaped the music. I found myself looking forward to each recording, and as a pianist, I learned a great deal from her about how to shape phrases. I always listened to her in the way I would normally listen to a violinist. She was such a good musician and there was always interest in the way she approached musical lines. On thing in particular that I remember being impressed with was the fact that whenever there was a long note in a phrase, it was always given a shape, always carrying the phrase somewhere.

    I, echo the appreciation of the recordings mentioned here and recently have enjoyed the VAI releases of her Butterfly and Falstaff on DVD.

    I never had the opportunity to meet her and have no idea what she was like as a person. I wish now that I’d at least written to her to tell her how much I respected her artistry and how much pleasure she brought to my life.

    God bless her.

  29. Hey Marchallin

    Please, Please FUCK OFF.

    I cant belive another of my great great favs has gone.

    She didnt appear much here in the UK, but there are many who know and love her voice via records, cd & dvd.

    And what a voice it was in its prime.

    I just love her album of verdi arias.

    If only that could be released on CD.

    As for her Traviata & Lusia Miller
    for me, they will never be bettered.

    Cara Anna, you will be missed.


    Anna Moffo came along (1950s) in an era when folks thought female opera singers could only plant their hands on their very ample hips with feet wide apart and belt-Anna proved that one could be beautiful and still sing. Adieu dear Anna.

  31. marschallin Says:

    Four days ago on March 11, the great soprano CHERYL STUDER gave a Liederabend in León, Spain accompanied by pianist Jonathan Alder. A review:


    I’m very glad that dear Cheryl is still singing. I remember when the opera recording industry thought that she woud save their b**s. Oh well, things do change! Now, who will it be???????????

  33. Marschallin you are one sick bitch. Poor Ms Struder, having a twisted sister like you as a fan.

    When movies of operas was as close as I could get to the real thing (in the 60’s)Anna Moffo’s Traviata was a joy- saw it five times and still remember on one occasion, a person sitting next to me turning to me and saying as the curtain fell -“she was too beautiful to live anyhow”.

    Brief her career may have been, but a legacy of some wonderful recordings prove that in her prime she was up there with the best of them. RIP beautiful Anna.

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