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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 27 June 1932Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 10 March 2006New York City, New York, USA  (cancer)

Mini Bio (1)

The dark and smoldering American soprano Anna Moffo was born in Wayne Pennsylvania, on June 27, 1932, and, following graduation at Radnor High School, studied at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music and in Rome, Italy on a Fulbright scholarship at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia. At one time she was actually considering joining a nunnery but her love for music won out. Her successful combination of glamorous beauty and exciting singing style made her one of opera's most popular draws in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Moffo took her first professional bow in 1955 as Norine in Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" in Spoleto, and later that year scored highly as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" in an Italian TV production directed by Mario Lanfranchi, whom she married in 1957. Strenthening her reputation in Saltzburg and Vienna, Moffo made her U.S. debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1957 as Mimi in Puccini's "La Boheme." Her first time on the Metropolitan stage came with the role of Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata." Over the years her bel canto repertoire would include Micaela in "Carmen," Gilda in "Rigoletto" and Liu in "Turandot." Arguably, the zenith of her Met career coincided with her appearance in the title role of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" opposite Carlo Bergonzi's Edgardo in January of 1965. In the 1960s, Moffo also began appearing occasionally in Italian films, including feisty roles in the Napoleonic war epic The Battle of Austerlitz (1960) with Rossano Brazzi; the comedy La serva padrona (1962), directed by husband Lanfranchi; Menage Italian Style (1965) [Menage, Italian Style] co-starring Ugo Tognazzi; and the comedy The Divorce (1970) [The Divorce]. She also filmed her Violette in La traviata (1968) and Lucia di Lammermoor (1971), both directed by Lanfranchi.

The multiple Grammy-nominated Moffo's singing career was finished when just in her 40s. Taking on too much too soon (she in one year took on 12 new roles), her voice burnt out quickly. Her last regular performance at the Met was received poorly as Violetta in 1976, her voice having fallen into a serious state of disrepair. She did return briefly for a one-time duet with baritone Robert Merrill in the company's centennial gala. Her marriage to Lanfranchi ended in divorce in 1972, but her second marriage to NBC broadcast executive/RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff in 1974 proved more durable and lasted until his death in 1997. Her later years were dogged by illness. Battling breast cancer for almost a decade, Moffo died of a stroke at age 73 on March 10, 2006, in New York City. She had no children of her own but was survived by three stepchildren.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Robert W. Sarnoff (14 November 1974 - 22 February 1997) (his death)
Mario Lanfranchi (8 December 1957 - 1972) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Famous American operatic soprano of Italian descent.
She has recorded several albums (opera and otherwise), including La Traviata, La Bohème (with Maria Callas), La Rondine, and Madama Butterfly. She has also enjoyed successful film career, not only of operas, but also of strictly dramatic films, including Una storia d'amore, which won the prestigious Griffo d'Argento award. She is as well known for her beauty as for her singing, but it shouldn't be overlooked that she has performed La Traviata more than 900 times, and Lucia di Lammermoor around 500 times. Recently, Anna Moffo received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Recently, on November 14, 1999, the 40th anniversary of her Met debut was celebrated.
In Italy, she hosted the 'The Anna Moffo Show' that helped popularise opera from 1960 to 1973.
Born in America to Italian parents.
After she graduated from high school she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, went to Rome to study voice, master the Italian language and train for opera.
In 1969 she caused a scandal in Italy when she appeared to be nude in a scene in the film "Una Storia d'Amore." In later years she insisted that she had not been totally unclothed.
Daughter-in-law of David Sarnoff.
Shortly after the Italian tenor Sergio Franchi joined the RCA recording family in America, they recorded a popular album of operetta duets, "The Dream Duet," which peaked at number ninety seven on the Billboard 200 in 1963. Later that year Franchi and Moffo collaborated in recording "The Great Moments From Die Fledermaus" with The Vienna State Orchestra and Chorus, Oskar Dannon conducting. In 1999 this album was re-mastered and re-issued in High Performance Stereo.

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