Antonietta Stella was born in Perugia, Italy in 1929, first studying singing in her native city before moving to the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She then won the Concorso ENAL in Bologna in 1949.
Her début was as Leonora in La forza del destino in Spoletto in 1951, repeating that rôle in Rome the following year to great acclaim. After next appearing in Germany, she sang in Florence, Naples and her native city. Her début at Milan La Scala theatre was as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello in 1954 where her rôles over the next decade included Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Aida, Butterfly and Lida (La battaglia do Legnano). Stella made her first London appearance as Aida at Covent Garden in 1955.
She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York for four seasons from 1956 where she sang in over 50 performances of eight rôles: these included Butterfly, Tosca, Elisabetta di Valois, Violetta, Amelia and Leonora in Forza. She continued to sing throughout Italy until the late 1970s in addition to appearing in Paris, Brussels and Vienna regularly in the main Verdian and Puccini parts. In 1974 she created the title rôle of De Belli’s Maria Stuarda in Naples.
She recorded extensively for a number of labels, including the then rarely heard Linda di Chamounix of Donizetti under Tullio Serafin. In more recent times she has taught singing.