Renata Scotto: I slapped a tenor

Renata Scotto: I slapped a tenor


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2015

The prima donna has been telling Corriere della Sera about male divas…. she’s not a fan.

I didn’t really like Mario Del Monaco. Also, I once gave Giuseppe Di Stefano a slap on stage. During a duet in L’elisir d’amore, instead of singing, he wandered towards the back of the stage to eat an apple. I looked at the conductor asking him, with my glance, what I should do? Continue alone? In the next scene Di Stefano returned to the footlights. My character, Adina, was meant to give him a pinch on the cheek, but instead I gave him a loud slap.

More here, courtesy of Gramilano.

renata scotto


  • Emil says:

    Really? That’s the most interesting part you noted in that interview? Here is an in-depth interview by one of the greatest singers of the last century, and the part you highlight is the one time she slapped a tenor? And you make it sound as if that is the whole interview?

    • JanHus says:

      You shouldn’t be surprised, Emil. This is symptomatic of Norman Lebrecht [redacted]. His work is all about drawing people’s attention to this kind of things.

      • John says:

        So if you think that of him, why are you here reading his content?

        • Emil says:

          1- Indeed, I am not surprised, just disappointed that he can claim himself to be a “journalist” with this kind of content.

          2- I read him because he does, occasionally, have valuable content, although it would be much pleasurable and instructive to read if he avoided distorting half the stories.

          3- Bad journalistic practices (and bad music journalism) harm the whole music business. Ignoring the problem does not magically solve it.

        • Harold Lewis says:

          Norman, you are far more patient with the likes of Emil and Janhus than I would be. They have nothing to contribute to any topic other than the sort of disparaging sneers that come from the mouths of failed and embittered schoolmasters. Your restraint and forbearance in the face of their animosity are admirable.

          • Respect says:

            Personally, I find it easier to ignore their contribution that on the incessant drownings of the actuarial minded Mr. Osborne, who reminds me of nothing more than a music box that knows one tune yet runs 24/7.

  • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

    To be fair, who among us has not had the urger to slap a tenor?

  • Roberto says:

    Thanks Norman for the link. Cool interview.

  • Peter Freeman says:

    I abhor violence but perhaps someone, ideally a tenor, should slap La Screech-o! I found her disparaging remarks about the long-deceased Callas on the Zeffirelli tv bio-pic a few years ago disgraceful and cowardly when the far greater artist was no longer able to defend herself. She is at it again, it seems. As for her attempt at Lady Macbeth at the Met, it was frankly a bitter disappointment. She should never have left the lyric coloratura repertoire to essay vocally heavier roles after shedding physical weight.

    • Respect says:

      Peter, I worked several times with her, she is a very tough woman. But is also very capable of being diplomatic and handling difficult situations with Grace. One had to be exceptionally careful around her, but her artistry was remarkable, the fact that was not always clear during her years of struggling with the voice. Gratefully, one can look back now and enjoy her legacy untarnished by the tension she would bring to rehearsals. To be fair, she is hardly the only artist at that level to create an extremely negative atmosphere.