The opera world is in mourning after the death of one of the great divas of the post-war era. Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi had passed away at the age of 82 after a long illness. Discovered by the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanni who called her “the voice of an angel”, she came to international attention in the early 1950s.
Her 1955 appearance in New York as Desdemona in Verdi’s Othello assured her place as a world opera superstar. In her heyday, Tebaldi’s rivalry with Maria Callas stirred sometimes violent passions among fans. “There were two factions which sometimes came to physical blows,” she recalled in an interview. “But I wouldn’t have missed those years for anything. The atmosphere was electric.” Tebaldi was admired for her elegant stage presence as well as for the purity of her voice. She retired in 1973.