Write to Anna Moffo
Many thanks to Charles Winecoff for his help.
Anna Moffo was born on June 27, 1932, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Nicolas Moffo and his Regina (Cinti) Moffo. She made her public debut at the age of 7 before a school assembly in a rendition of "Mighty Lak' a Rose." Later on she performed at school recitals, weddings, funerals, and in choirs. After graduating from high school, Anna Moffo was offered the chance to appear in Hollywood films, but turned it down because of her intentions to become a nun.
After deciding to devote herself to music, Miss Moffo won a four-year scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia after performing the one operatic selection she knew: Un Bel Dí from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. She studied voice and piano at the institute and graduated with honors. Soon after, in 1955, she won the Young Artists Auditions and a Fulbright grant to study at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Some little-known facts about Anna Moffo are that while studying in Italy, she worked as an X-ray technician and also learned to type ninety-seven words a minute.
Anna Moffo made her stage debut in 1955 as Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale in Spoleto, Italy. The following year, she appeared in a television production of Madama Butterfly, staged by Mario Lanfranchi, whom she married on December 8, 1957. In 1957, she made her La Scala debut in Falstaff and her American debut as Mimi in Puccini's La Bohème at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Anna Moffo made her Metropolitan Opera debut on November 14, 1959, as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. She returned to the Met in the 1960-61 season to sing three new roles, Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, Adina in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, and Liù in Turandot with Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli. Around this time, Miss Moffo became especially popular in Italy. Not only was she voted one of the ten most beautiful women in Italy, she also hosted "The Anna Moffo Show" from 1960 to 1973.
Miss Moffo divorced Lanfranchi in 1972 and married former RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff in 1974 (unfortunately, Sarnoff died of cancer in February 1997). In the late-seventies, Miss Moffo began singing, along with her signature roles (La Traviata and Lucia di Lammermoor), the heavier Verdi roles, such as Leonora in Il Trovatore and Lina in Stiffelio. Recently, in 1991, she added a new role to her repertoire, that of the title role in Bellini's Norma.
Fortunately for her fans, Anna Moffo 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.