Curtis alumna Anna Moffo (Voice ’54) was one of the finest lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation, performing coveted roles in famed opera houses around the world.
Curtis alum Anna Moffo (Voice ’54) was, in her heyday, an opera singer on par with contemporaries Maria Callas and Beverly Sills. Born on June 27, 1932 in Wayne, Pa., Moffo was an accomplished athlete and excellent student before winning a place at the Curtis Institute of Music to study voice in 1950. Following her graduation, she traveled to Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship. Her operatic career soon took off after a televised appearance as Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly.
By the early 1960s Moffo had cemented her reputation as a leading lyric-coloratura soprano, performing at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Teatro di San Carlo, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, among others. Celebrated as much for her beauty as for her voice (she was known in Italy as “La Bellisima”), Moffo dominated the operatic stage for nearly a decade, particularly in her signature role as Violetta in La traviata.
However, a grueling opera schedule coupled with weekly appearances on her namesake variety show led, in 1968, to serious injury to her voice from which she never fully recovered. After formally retiring from singing in 1983, Moffo served as a board member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and taught master classes around the world until her death in 2006 at age 76.
The Curtis Archives was fortunate to receive Moffo’s extensive personal collection in 2015, and it is now available to the Curtis community and general public for use and research.