Happy birthday Anna Moffo!


Anna Moffo (June 27, 1932—March 9, 2006) was an Italian-American operatic soprano. She is remembered for her command of lyric-coloratura techniques. The pinnacle of her career came early on as a result of overwork and stress, but she remains a legend in the opera community.


Moffo was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania to Nicola Moffo and Regina Cinti, both Italian immigrants. Her parents had wanted her to be a nun, but after she graduated from high school, she chose to go to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia over an offer to go to Hollywood. While there, she studied piano and viola in addition to voice.

Her career took a deciding turn when she received a Fulbright scholarship to go to Italy and study at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She studied under Mercedes Llopart and Luigi Ricci. In 1955, she made her debut in Spoleto as Norina in Don Pasquale.


On January 24, 1956, the telecast aired of Moffo performing the role of Cio-Cio-San in an Italian television production of Madama Butterfly. It was during this production that she met Mario Lanfranchi, wh the director, and the two married in 1957. She later recounted her first four years of her career alongside Lanfranchi, saying he pushed her too hard and that she was forced to sing 12 new star roles a year during that period.


In 1959, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, portraying Violetta in La Traviata. She went on to appear around 200 times with the company, well into the 1960s.


Moffo is described as an artist who peaked early, as her voice became unreliable by the end of the 1960s. She lost much of her popularity in the United States, but remained a force in Italy, where she appeared in her own television show called The Anna Moffo Show.

In 1972, she and Lanfranchi divorced, and two years later, Moffo married the Robert W. Sarnoff, the chairman of RCA.

By 1976, she began appearing only periodically. She appeared for the last time at the Met at the Centennial Celebrations in 1983, but remained active in the community: being a Board Member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild; giving master classes, and tribute performances.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 27 June 2014
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