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Subject: Re: a final word on Leontyne Price
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:53:43 -0700
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Zinka Milanov sang her first Aida's in 1928 in Zagreb and 1929 in Dresden.
Her first at the Met was Feb. 2, 1938 and her last in 1958 at with the Met
at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on May 1, 1958.  This was probably her last
Aida ever.  But thats a 30 year career total over all, 20 years at the
Met.  That is probably a Met record.   She also sang it in three languages
- Serbo-Croatian, German and Italian.  I am sure she is not the only one,
but Price's 27 year career as an Aida is spectacular and few have matched
it, few have exceeded it.

My favorite Price recording - other than the Blue Recital?  The Butterfly
she recorded with Tucker.  Exquisite.  Price/Tucker and Tebaldi/Bergonzi
killed it for me.  It has never been sung as exquisitely since.  (The
Steber/Tucker is not chopped liver either).  As for Price's other
recordings, the Salzburg Trovatore with Price, Simionato, Corelli,
Bastianini & Herbie Von K is stunningly amazing.  (LOL - don't kill me for
that hyperbole)

Donald

On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 12:06 AM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Overlooking her extraordinarily long singing career before the public,
> and having seen her live in only a few operas, but lots of concerts and
> recitals, and being the owner of most of her recordings, It's my feeling
> that
> it's pretty hard to find any real fault with most of her work.  The voice
> was
> without peer in her time, and if she made a few miscalculations in
> repertoire choices (Thais in Chicago and Fanciulla in New York), she more
> than compensated for it in the operas she chose to undertake.  The
> miraculous preservation of her voice is amply demonstrated in her final
> Aida (and performance) at the Met in January 1985 at the age of 58, by
> which time she had been singing the role since she first performed it in
> Vancouver in 1958.  I know of no soprano who could shoulder Aida over
> the course of such  a long career.  And I'd like to know of a soprano TODAY
> who could sing Aida as well as Price still could  when she hung up her
> opera shoes in 1985.  I just watched the DVD (I have the performance in
> great sound and picture) and the audience response to "O Patria Mia" (and
> her reaction to it) is still something for the opera history books.
>      My essential Price treasury:  her Madame Lidione Scene in "Carmelites"
> as presented in French on her Prima Donna III recording, her "Rondine"
> aria on her "blue album", the Awakening Scene from Strauss' "The
> Egyptian Helen", Marietta's Lied from "Die Tote Shtadt", her "Como
> Scoglio" from "Cosi Fan Tutte", Donna Anna's "Non mi dir" (from Salzburg
> in 1960 with Schwarzkopf's Elvira, and "Du Bist Der Lenz" from Die
> Walkure.
>      She was fluent in sung English, French, and German, and she sang in
> all of those languages.  She had and preserved a magnificent vocal
> instrument.  Of course, a certain hoarseness and a bit of fog crept into
> the
> lower register in the 1970s, but when one looks at the overall track record
> and the "complete package", it's pretty hard to find serious fault with one
> of the smartest sopranos in opera history, who managed her career with a
> shrewdness and panache that was second to none.  I doubt whether we will
> encounter her like again.  What a life!  What a career!
>
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