Renata Tebaldi (b. 1922) studied at the Boito Conservatorio in Parma, before making her début as Elena in Mefistofele at Rovigo in 1944. She sang for Toscanini at the opening concert at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, in 1946. Later that season she was engaged as Eva in Meistersinger and Mimì in La Bohème.
Her first appearance outside Italy was in Lisbon in 1949 and the following year Tebaldi made her London début as Desdemona in Otello when the La Scala Company appeared at Covent Garden. Her international introduction came through her first American engagement as Aida in San Francisco in 1950, soon followed by three seasons in Rio de Janeiro. The Italian soprano first sang at the Metropolitan in New York in 1955, a house she would grace for seventeen further seasons before retiring from the stage in 1973 and the concert hall three years later. Tebaldi appeared regularly at the Vienna State Opera and also sang in Chicago and Japan.
As the most significant Italian lirico spinto soprano during her career, she also recorded prolifically.