Saturday, March 11, 2006

THE HAT SQUAD: ANNA MOFFO

Opera singer Anna Moffo has died, the Metropolitan Opera said Friday. She was 73, according to the Grove Dictionary of Music.

The dark, graceful Moffo thrilled audiences on television's "Bell Telephone Hour" as well as in opera houses in the United States and Europe starting in the late 1950s, but her career ended when she was just in her 40s, her voice only a shadow of what it was.

Moffo made her debut as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" in a 1955 television production directed by future husband Mario Lanfranchi

Moffo made her U.S. debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1957 as Mimi in Puccini's "La Boheme," then had her Met debut on Nov. 14, 1959, in the role of Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata." The New York Times' Harold C. Schonberg wrote that her work "still seems just a shade tentative." But he also said she had "quite a lovely voice" and was "one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the stage of an opera house."

In a lengthy profile in the Times in 1977, she said she was pushed too fast in the early stages in her career and was taking time off to learn new roles and strengthen her technique.

"I was working much too hard and traveling much too much," she said. "I got mixed up in TV, films, things like that. Psychologically I was miserable, always away, always alone. But I don't think I was singing that badly until I reached a point where I was just so tired."

In 1974, she had married broadcast executive Robert Sarnoff, who headed the NBC television network in the late 1950s and early '60s and later was CEO of parent RCA. Her previous marriage to Lanfranchi, her one-time manager, ended in divorce.

TV GUEST APPEARANCES
Night of 100 Stars (1982) (TV) .... Herself
"The Dean Martin Show"
- Celebrity Roast: Truman Capote (1974) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 29 March 1973 (1973) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 21 September 1972 (1972) TV Episode .... Herself
"V.I.P.-Schaukel" - Episode #1.3 (1971) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Merv Griffin Show"
- Episode dated 1 June 1970 (1970) TV Episode .... Herself
"W√ľnsch dir was"
- Episode dated 23 May 1970 (1970) TV Episode .... Herself
"Toast of the Town"
- Episode #20.29 (1967) TV Episode .... Singer
- Episode #19.9 (1965) TV Episode .... Herself - Singer
"The Hollywood Palace"
- Episode #2.12 (1964) TV Episode .... Herself - Opera Soprano
"The Bell Telephone Hour"
- The Many Faces of Romeo and Juliet (1967) TV Episode
- Episode dated 8 October 1963 (1963) TV Episode .... Herself
- Till Autumn (1962) TV Episode .... Herself
- Portals of Music (1962) TV Episode .... Herself

I'm fairly certain the foreign shows are talk shows, but I'm including them anyway. According to 1010 WINS, she had her own TV show in Italy.

BCnU.....
Tele-Toby

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