At last, a monument to Callas’s rival

At last, a monument to Callas’s rival


norman lebrecht

May 28, 2014

It will be ten years this December since Renata Tebaldi died and most Callas fans will agree that she has been shamefully eclipsed.

Next week, by way of amends, a museum will be opened in Tebaldi’s memory at Verdi’s birthplace, Bussetto.

Zubin Mehta will give the opening concert in August with the Maggio Musical orchestra and a TV documentary is being made about her life.

About time, too.


  • John says:

    I have a poor quality bootleg 1966 Met performance of Andrea Chenier with Tebaldi (and Franco Corelli) that I will not part with. She was absolutely on top of her form.

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    Enjoy this: Tebaldi and Björling in the finale-first act of Puccini’s La Bohème

  • Duncan McLennan says:

    I disagree with the headline “Callas’s rival”. They had almost totally different repertoires and shared few major roles. Nevertheless Tebaldi was indeed the mistress of her repertoire and has been as shamefully neglected as her own predecessor, Magda Olivera. I visited Bussetto and Saht’ Agate a couple of years ago – looks like I’ll have to go back once the Tebaldi museum is operating.

    I too heard her and Corelli in Andrea Chenier in 1966 (in Boston) and will never forget them in the final scene – No singers today let it rip as they did. A pity that they didn’t record it together but then del Monaco in Tebaldi’s Decca recording was a more than adequate substitute. A few nights later I heard her do a Boheme but I have no memories of anything about the production other than her singing. A few years later I read in her autobiography that Rudolfo was sung by a young tenor making his US debut – someone called Placido Domingo. I have absolutely no recollection of his performance. I also heard her and del Monaco do an Otello somewhere in Canada, and I won’t be forgetting that in a hurry. But I can’t recall whether it was in Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa.

    And an opera-loving acquaintaince once shared a compartment on an Italian train with a dignified Italian lady. They conversed in her limited English and his bad Italian. Only after a couple of hours did he realise that she was Renata Tebaldi, then retired. She invited him to afternoon tea after the trip – it was the highlight of his life.

    • Claude Michaud says:

      Otello with Tebaldi Del Monaco and Gobbi was at Place des Arts
      in Montréal on June 21, 1966 i was Lucky i was there.
      It was a Gala evening. It was quite an experience.
      Tebaldi looked lovely and sounded great.