(Born March 15, 1929, Perugia, Italy)
Antonietta Stella is an Italian operatic spinto soprano.
She was one of the finest Italian spinto sopranos and her career was centered around the 1950s and 1960.
She possessed a beautiful ample voice and was particularly associated with the roles of Guiseppe Verdi and Giacomon Puccini.
She made her debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore in 1950 and performed Leonora in La Forza Del Destino at the Rome Opera in 1951
Thereafter she sang all over Italy.
She made her debut at La Scala as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello in 1954 and continued to sing there to great acclaim until 1963. Her roles included Violetta in La Traviata, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Amelia in Un ballo in Maschera, the title roles in Aida and Tosca, Mimi in La Bohème, Maddalena in Andrea Chénier and Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly.
She made her debuts at the Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House in London in 1955 and thereafter sang at the Palais Garnier in Paris, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and then in 1956 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera. She continued to sing there until 1960 and was an extremely popular artist.
In 1958 she had a particularly successful season there playing Madama Butterfly in a new production designed in the style of Japanese woodblock prints.
Her portrayal and assimilation of the authentic Japanese physicality and gesture was particularly praised. Another new production of Il Trovatore in which she starred also drew wide praise.
Antonietta Stella was a tall elegant glamorous figure on stage and she was also a highly accomplished actress.
It was a little unfortunate that she was one of several great artists throughout the 1950s and 60s whose career was somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing competition between Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi.
Regardless, she still did have a very notable career and left several very worthwhile recordings.
They included works such as Linda di Chamounix, La Battaglia di Legnano, L'Africaine, and Simon Boccanegra.
In 1955 she appeared opposite Mario Del Monaco in a filmed performance for Italian television of Giordano's Andrea Chénier. Giuseppe Taddei also featured and it was a complete successs. That recording is available on DVD.
Unfortunately Antonietta Stella's career in America went off the rails somewhat when a row developed between Metropolitan General Manager Rudolf Bing discovered she had sung a performance at La Scala in Milan on a night when she was still under contract for a performance at the Metropolitan.
She had cancelled claiming illness. Bing sought penalties against her and after that she was never again engaged at the Metropolitan. She did however sing with other companies in the United States and remained a highly popular artist.
She is now retired.
There are several video's on youtube of Antonietta Stella in performance- one of them is the card scene in La Fancuilla Del West.
Antonietta Stella is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.