Included are three prime Plácido Domingo collaborations—a not very French Faust co-starring Ruggero Raimondi, Kostas Paskalis and Frederica von Stade; a thrilling, career-altering I vespri siciliani with Sherrill Milnes and Paul Plishka: and La bohème featuring José van Dam among the attic-dwellers and with Mary Costa as Musetta.

In addition, enjoy Scotto sleepwalking to the chagrin of Nicolai Gedda in La Sonnambula; a fabled 1976 Il trittico, and a rip-roaring tour Il trovatore with Carlo Bergonzi and Fiorenza Cossotto.

Before March 15, 1977, my primary association with Scotto was an Everest LP of Pergolesi’s La Serva padrona with Sesto Bruscantini that I grew so fond of I’d often checked it out of my local library.

I also remember enjoying a 1972 Met broadcast of L’elisir d’amore with Carlo Bergonzi, but I must have skipped her Lucia the following year.

Even though I wasn’t much of a Puccini fan then, I was not about to miss the first live telecast from the Met. So I watched La Bohème with Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti in my dorm room on my12-inch black-and-white television and was spellbound. By the end I was destroyed, tears running down my face. I was relieved my roommate had been at the library studying that evening and didn’t return until after I’d collected myself.

Three nights later I watched the repeat telecast in my bedroom at home. I was so into it I raged at my sister when she barged in. Although none of the cast remotely resembled starving bohemians, Pavarotti was marvelous and Scotto’s heartbreaking Mimi transformed me into an instant fan of both her and the opera.

I’d hear the soprano in person two years later when she performed in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur with Beverly Wolff and Harry Theyard at the Cincinnati Opera. I’d missed her Cincinnati Norma two years earlier though I’d listened to its live broadcast on my family’s trusty NordMende radio.

My two other live Scotto encounters were at the Met: Vespri in 1982 followed by Francesca da Rimini two years later. She was still at her peak as a commanding Adriana, but though the later Verdi and Zandonai performances still had magic moments they didn’t compare to Scotto at her peak.

There are pirates of other local performances I might have included today, but I wanted to focus on several operas Scotto didn’t record commercially as well as a few that were particularly special. I avoided less successful outings like Norma or La Clemenza di Tito.

While looking over Scotto’s Met career, I noticed she made both her company debut and farewell in the same role: Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. I then wondered if other leading artists with long Met careers had done the same. Of course I immediately thought of the “other” Renata: Tebaldi both said hello and goodbye to the Met as Desdemona in Otello! I wonder if there may be more?

Four more important Scotto live performances can still be heard on episodes of Trove Thursday: Giulia in Spontini’s La vestale, Giselda in I Lombardi alla prima crociata, and the title roles of Adriana and Refice’s Cecilia.

Gounod: Faust

Marguerite: Renata Scotto
Siébel: Frederica von Stade
Marthe: Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Faust: Plácido Domingo
Valentin: Kostas Paskalis
Méphistophélès: Ruggero Raimondi
Wagner: Russell Christopher

Conductor: Alain Lombard

4 October 1971
In-house recording

Bellini: La Sonnambula

Amina: Renata Scotto
Lisa: Loretta di Franco
Teresa: Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Elvino: Nicolai Gedda
Rodolfo: Giorgio Tozzi

Conductor: Carlo Felice Cillario

17 October 1972
In-house recording

Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani

Elena: Renata Scotto
Ninetta: Cynthia Munzer
Arrigo: Plácido Domingo
Guido di Monforte: Sherrill Milnes
Giovanni da Procida: Paul Plishka
Danieli: Douglas Ahlstedt
Manfredo: Paul Franke
Tebaldo: Nico Castel
Sire di Bethune: Robert Goodloe
Roberto: Andrij Dobriansky
Conte Vaudemont: Edmond Karlsrud

Conductor: James Levine

4 November 1974
In-house recording

Puccini: Il Trittico
Conductor: Sixten Ehrling
22 January 1976
In-house recordings

Il Tabarro

Giorgetta: Renata Scotto
La Frugola: Lili Chookasian
Lover: Betsy Norden
Luigi: Harry Theyard
Michele: Cornell MacNeil
Talpa: Philip Booth
Tinca: Charles Anthony
Song Seller: Jon Garrison
Lover: Douglas Ahlstedt

Suor Angelica

Angelica: Renata Scotto
Princess: Lili Chookasian
Genovieffa: Betsy Norden
Osmina: Mary Fercana
Dolcina: Elizabeth Anguish
Monitor: Marcia Baldwin
Abbess: Jean Kraft
Head Mistress: Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Nurse: Cynthia Munzer

Gianni Schicchi

Lauretta: Renata Scotto
Nella: Betsy Norden
Ciesca: Marcia Baldwin
Zita: Lili Chookasian
Gianni Schicchi: Frank Guarrera
Rinuccio: Raymond Gibbs
Gherardo: Charles Anthony
Betto: Russell Christopher
Marco: Gene Boucher
Simone: Raymond Michalski
Gherardino: Lawrence Klein
Spinelloccio: Richard Best
Amantio: Andrij Dobriansky
Pinellino: Herman Marcus
Guccio: Edmond Karlsrud

Verdi: Il Trovatore

Leonora: Renata Scotto
Azucena: Fiorenza Cossotto
Ines: Carlotta Ordassy
Manrico: Carlo Bergonzi
Conte di Luna: William Walker
Ferrando: Ivo Vinco
Ruiz: John Carpenter

Conductor: James Levine

23 April 23 1977
In-house recording

Puccini: La Bohème

Mimì: Renata Scotto
Musetta: Mary Costa
Rodolfo: Plácido Domingo
Marcello: Mario Sereni
Schaunard: Robert Goodloe
Colline: José Van Dam
Benoit: Richard Best
Alcindoro: Paul Franke
Parpignol: Donald Junod
Sergeant: Edward Ghazal
Officer: Domenico Simeone

Conductor: James Conlon

12 October 1977
In-house recording

Each Scotto work can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

Chris’s Cache returns in March.