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Subject: Re: CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR 2016
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 20 Dec 2016 20:41:43 -0800
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No argument from me, Les.

The "Forza" highlights album was pulled together from several different sessions over a few years.  The "Son giunta ... madre pietosa vergine" and "Pace, pace" came from a set of sessions in 1953 in Manhattan Center that were first released as RCA LM 1777, "Milanov Sings.". The material all was issued on CD but the original LP still sounds much better to me.  Brilliant (mono) engineering, excellent orchestral playing (mostly Toscanini's NBC group), marvelous choral backup (Shaw) and superb singing from the lady herself.  I think this is one of the great vocal recitals.

In the late 60's, while still in high school, I was able to get decently paying part time work as a grocery checker.  I was new to opera and classical music and relied heavily on the reduced price labels (RCA Victrola, EMI Seraphim, London Richmond and Stereo Treasury).

RCA Victrola liked to subject their mono recordings to "Electronic Stereo" that reduced the clarity and solidity of the mono sound, but no matter:  when I put "The Art of Zinka Milanov" on my turntable, that first "Son giunta!" whacked me in the stomach and the pianissimo on "Deh, non m'abbandonar, pieta" was one of the most exquisite sounds I'd ever heard.  It sounded to me like Birgit Nilsson covered in black velvet.

Later, I found out it wasn't all quite like that.  That complete "Aida" alternates ravishing singing like her Tomb Scene and "O patria mia" with rough squally singing ("Ritorna vinctor" up until the beautiful "Numi, pieta") where she sounds like Aida's Aunt Vlasta (Mark, sorry, I stole your line).

Other than the excellent "Trovatore," the really great Milanov recordings, for me, are the live performances in the late 30's and early 40's: the Toscanini Verdi "Requiem" and Beethoven "Missa Solemnis" and the Panizza "Ballo."

Odd thing about Milanov: much as they might respect her, none of her colleagues particularly liked her.  Contrast with Tebaldi: they all adored her.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 20, 2016, at 18:40, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Steve: 
> I LOVE all the ways in which some posters refer to Zinka Milanov. In fact, I find it amusing that she evokes so much controversy NOW. My late father absolutely loved her, as did so many others of his generation. I was raised on her Trovatore and Aida recordings. Also the RCA Forza highlights album (1954) with her and Jan Peerce/Leonard Warren. The "Pace, Pace" on that particular recording, IMO, has never been surpassed. It's almost as though Verdi could have written that aria just for HER (I'm expecting a deluge of derision for this!). Granted, Milanov was a very inconsistent and erratic singer, but when all the stars were in alignment and her voice was "spinning", she was incomparable (more derision expected!). I only wish the stars were in alignment more often. 
> "Zink-a-lator" is a new one on me. I've seen "the Zinkamatic", the "Zinkel", and "the Zinkey", and suppose some innovative poster will come up with a new one. I really enjoy these. But at the risk of being lynched on this Board, I will say that there are times when I hear her and think she had the most gorgeous voice I ever heard. 
> As far as Callas "nailing" phrases like "Invan! tutto e finito" is concerned --------- this is nothing new. For the most part, Callas "nailed" mostly everything, regardless of the condition of her voice between 1952 and 1960. She operated on a totally different galaxy. Her uniqueness makes her impossible to compare to anyone else. 
> 
> Should I arm myself for an attack???? 
> 
> Les 
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> 
> From: "Stephen Charitan" <[log in to unmask]> 
> To: "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]> 
> Cc: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
> Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:27:25 PM 
> Subject: Re: CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR 2016 
> 
> Les, 
> 
> As you know I'm no fan of The Zink-a-lator but she, and especially Jussi do nail this one vocally. That being said, NO ONE can deliver the words "Invan! tutto è finito" like Callas and in those 4 words, she vanquishes the competition... 
> 
> Steve 
> 
> On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 7:41 PM, Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] > wrote: 
> 
> 
> I've given this so much thought because there are so many operatic wonders preserved in sound, but I always return to the Tomb Scene (Aida) as sung by Jussi Bjoerling and Zinka Milanov on the still-classic RCA recording. I discovered it when I was seventeen, and I still listen to it in wonderment. I've heard no other version of this scene that satisfies me as much. 
> Les/Chicago 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> 
> From: "RAYMOND GOUIN" < [log in to unmask] > 
> To: "OPERA-L" < [log in to unmask] > 
> Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 2:45:09 PM 
> Subject: CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR 2016 
> 
> Personal favorites that are my electronic Christmas presents to all for 2016 [ same as last year but worth repeating :) ]. 
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCk-ReQNd_w 
> 
> Carlo Bergonzi, "Cielo e mar", La Gioconda, nd 
> This is likely taken from a Met Saturday broadcast. The aria 
> is called "Cielo e mar". I call it perfection. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK3OjbwBBwg 
> 
> Leontine Price, "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta", La Rondine 
> This was on Price's first LP. As soon as I heard it, I placed it in my 
> Parthenon of opera recordings. This is a live recording in less than 
> perfect sound, but I wanted to demonstrate that her singing was not 
> a trick of the recording studio. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGfP38nd-U0 
> 
> Leontine Price,1985 Met Farewell Performance, “O patria mia” from Aida. 
> There were a few rough patches in Price’s last performance at the Met, but it all 
> came together – many times over – for “O patria mia”. Stay with the two minutes 
> of applause that follow and be thankful for the wise decision to keep the camera 
> close up on Price. Raw emotion of this type is rarely captured by the camera. 
> 
> *** 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPDsNTXuozc 
> 
> Renata Tebaldi, Jussi Bjoerling, Arias & Duet Act 1, La Boheme. 1956. 
> This excerpt has been around for a very long time, but it will always 
> deserve another listen and view. It provides us a very rare and 
> treasured visual of two opera titans at their finest. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lVOlpoxoq0 
> 
> Jon Vickers & Leonie Rysanek, Act I Finale, Die Walkure, 1972 
> A very long excerpt, but so what. A reminder of what heldentenors are 
> supposed to sound like and Leonie, after a bit of a rough start, is no 
> chopped liver herself. Note how Vickers' singing is absolutely effortless. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> And two repeats from Christmas presents of past years: 
> 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-RrG4sfdis 
> 
> From 1967, Franco Corelli in Parma, "E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca. 
> This is one of those rare recordings where the electricity coursing 
> through the audience becomes palpable as Corelli sings "discogliea dai 
> veli", giving example as to his phenomenal breath control and diminuendo. 
> You can skip the last three minutes which is all applause. Again thanks to 
> Stefan who has had much to do with publicizing this performance. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNg8VGrIqls 
> 
> From 1962, Beverly Sills singing the "Willow Song" from The Ballad of Baby 
> Doe. The white haired gentleman seen in the opening and closing moments 
> is the opera's composer, Douglas Moore. Although Sills did not create the 
> role, once she assumed it at New York City Opera a few years after the 
> premiere, it became indelibly associated with her. This is Bev as I knew her 
> when I was with the Opera Company of Boston, in the years before she 
> became THE Beverly Sills. 
> 
> *** 
> 
> Christmas blessings to all. Hanukkah Sameach! Have a safe and prosperous New Year, 
> and may the wind always be at your back. 
> 
> Best from Boston 
> Ray Gouin 
> 
> 
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