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The Courtesan and the Diva

Anna Moffo sings the role of Violetta in the 1960 recording with Richard Tucker and Robert Merrill

Anna Moffo sings the role of Violetta in the 1960 recording with Richard Tucker and Robert Merrill

The Tuesday Night Opera starts at 8:00 PM

An erotic Italian film star; “Gilda” at the Metroplitan Opera; and a girl from rural Pennsylvania; these would seem to have little in common, but this was the life of Anna Moffo. As a teen, she turned down an offer to go to Hollywood, choosing instead to attend the Curtis Institute; the film career would come later.

A child of Italian immigrants, Moffo won a Fulbright to study in Rome in 1955. In 1956 she sang the role of Cio-Cio San for Italian television, and was a star forever more.

Anna Moffo made her American debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1957. She is featured as Traviata‘s tragic courtesan, Violetta, with Richard Tucker and Robert Merrill in The Tuesday Night Opera, hosted by Peter van de Graaff.  This broadcast of La Traviata is part of a year-long celebration of Verdi at 200—think of this as an appetizer for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of La Traviata later this year (Marina Rebeka makes her LOC debut, alongside Joseph Calleja and Quinn Kelsey).

La Traviata Libretto

Life Magazine has recently posted a collection of previously unpublished stills of Anna Moffo from the erotic film Una storia d’amore (1970).

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