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Guest DJ Renata Scotto: Opera, Risks, And Keeping It Real

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Guest DJ Renata Scotto: Opera, Risks, And Keeping It Real

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Guest DJ Renata Scotto: Opera, Risks, And Keeping It Real

Guest DJ Renata Scotto: Opera, Risks, And Keeping It Real

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Renata Scotto has retired from the stage, but she hasn't slowed down — she's now a director and costume designer. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Renata Scotto

Renata Scotto has retired from the stage, but she hasn't slowed down — she's now a director and costume designer.

courtesy of the artist

It seems Italian soprano Renata Scotto has been taking risks all her life. At age 12, she matter-of-factly declared that she would become an opera singer. At 18, she debuted in the treacherous lead role in Verdi's La Traviata.

Scotto has never looked back. Although retired from singing, she's still busy in the opera world teaching young singers and directing opera productions, even designing costumes.

The 77-year-old soprano is being honored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild Feb. 27, with a special "Met Legends" evening celebrating her career. To mark the event, I asked her to pick a few of her favorite opera recordings for an informal session of listening and conversation.

After decades of performing with the greatest singers — from Maria Callas to Luciano Pavarotti — Scotto's giddy enthusiasm for the music is undiminished. She's like a teenager falling in love with opera for the first time, passionate about today's singers — such as coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay and tenor Jonas Kaufmann — and devoted to greats of the past, like tenor Jussi Bjorling.

She's also candid about her own career, saying that she never let her sound overtake her interpretation. Scotto learned her craft from some of the very best. She witnessed the immense dedication it takes by interacting with Callas, and her vocal coach on her famous Madama Butterfly recording worked with Puccini himself.

"My career has always been as a risk-taker," Scotto says. "This is the way I am, I don't know how to explain."

Actually, she explains it rather well. Take a listen to an opera legend still on fire for her art.

Have a Renata Scotto story of your own? Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Renata Scotto Guest DJ: Opera, Risks, And Keeping It Real

Cover for Bellini: Norma

'Deh Non volerli vittime' (excerpt)

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Bellini's Norma: 'Deh! Non volerli vittime'

  • from Bellini: Norma
  • by Maria Callas

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Bellini: Norma
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Bellini: Norma
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Maria Callas
Label
EMI

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Cover for Puccini: La Bohème

'Che avvien' (excerpt)

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Puccini's La Boheme: Mimi's Death Scene (excerpt)

  • from Puccini: La Bohème
  • by Renata Scotto

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Song
Puccini: La Bohème
Album
Puccini: La Bohème
Artist
James Levine
Label
EMI
Released
2006

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Cover for Romantic Arias

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: 'Prize Song'

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Wagner's Die Meistersinger: Prize Song

  • from Romantic Arias
  • by Jonas Kaufmann

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Romantic Arias
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Romantic Arias
Artist
Jonas Kaufmann
Label
Decca
Released
2008

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Cover for Verdi: La Traviata

'Addio del passato'

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Verdi's La Traviata: 'Addio del passato'

  • from Verdi: La Traviata
  • by Renata Scotto

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Verdi: La Traviata
Album
Verdi: La Traviata
Artist
Riccardo Muti
Label
EMI Classics
Released
1993

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Hamlet: 'A vos jeux mes amis'

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Thomas' Hamlet: Mad Scene (excerpt)

  • from Mad Scenes
  • by Natalie Dessay

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Mad Scenes
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Mad Scenes
Artist
Natalie Dessay
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Virgin Classics
Released
2009

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Cover for Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly

Madame Butterfly: 'Tu piccolo iddio'

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Puccini's Madama Butterfly: 'Tu piccolo iddio'

  • from Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
  • by Renata Scotto

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Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Album
Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Artist
Renata Scotto
Label
EMI Classics
Released
1989

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Cover for Jussi Björling Edition: Studio Recordings 1930-1959

Manon Lescaut: 'Dona non vidi mai'

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Puccini's Manon Lescaut: 'Donna non vidi mai'

  • from Jussi Björling Edition: Studio Recordings 1930-1959
  • by Jussi Björling

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Jussi Björling Edition: Studio Recordings 1930-1959
Album
Jussi Björling Edition: Studio Recordings 1930-1959
Artist
Jussi Björling
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EMI
Released
1997

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Cover for Italian Opera Arias

Manon Lescaut: Sola, perduta, abbandonata

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Puccini's Manon Lescaut: 'Sola perdutta, abbandonata'

  • from Italian Opera Arias
  • by Renata Scotto

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Italian Opera Arias
Album
Italian Opera Arias
Artist
Renata Scotto
Label
Sony Music
Released
1998

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