Renata Scotto (born 24 February 1934) is an Italian soprano and opera director.
Recognized for her sense of style, musicality and as a remarkable singer-actress, Scotto is considered one of the preeminent singers of her generation, specializing in the bel canto repertoire with excursions into the verismo and Verdi repertoires.
Since retiring from the stage as a singer in 2002, she has turned successfully to directing opera as well as teaching in Italy and America, along with academic posts at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Juilliard School in New York.
Pergolesi Year 2010 marks the birth 300 years ago of a first rank composer and singular voice. Claudio Abbado's affinity for Pergolesi is a joy to the ear and balm to the soul. The introductory album of maestro's Pergolesi Project, the famous Stabat Mater, was rapturously received by the press.
Characteristic are these comments in The Times: "Abbado's commitment to period style is never in doubt…He has exceptional soloists: Rachel Harnisch and Sara Mingardo in the Stabat, ravishing in the harmonic suspensions of their duets; a lovely toned Julia Kleiter in the Salve; and the exemplary Giuliano Carmignola in the rarely recorded Violin Concerto, a little masterpiece, all but forgotten by the mainstream."
Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" is one of the most difficult of his operas to cast properly. The demands of the music for the 5 principals are quite formidable, and require a command of vocalism that only the greatest singers can offer. It further requires the leadership of an immaginative conductor to bring cohesion to "Forza's" somewhat sprawling score. This recording towers over the others in best meeting the aforementioned 'criteria'. Maestro James Levine demonstrates his mastery of the score throughout, creating intimacy in the more personal passages of the opera (no more so than in the moving Convent Scene), contrasted with the bustling energy of scenes in the countryside and battlefield. His conducting has the "sweep" and verve so neccessary to illuminating and energizing the overall (Russian-influenced?) darkness of this turbulent score…