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Subject: Milanov ( was Re: Noteworthy Opera/Vocal Reissues)
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 May 2017 09:03:46 -0700
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I'm not disrespecting Milanov's later work at all, but my favorite recordings of hers are those from the late 30s and early 40s.

I find her singing in several performances of the Verdi Requiem under Toscanini outstanding and the sheer unimpeded flood of sound and passion in that 1940 Panizza "Ballo" released by the Met is stunning. 

The performance that most surprises me for the purity and discipline of her singing is the 1940 Beethoven "Missa Solemnis" again under Toscanini. It's not so often you hear a cast of soloists in that work who would also be at home in "Aida" but you get the best of both: big, juicy voices singing with the selflessness of church singers.

The Toscanini led last act of "Rigoletto" is a shocker, making the case for a full weight dramatic soprano Gilda. The effect is electrifying in the storm scene.

If I had to pick one favorite recording from the 50s, it would be the 1953 sessions that were originally released as the LP "Milanov Sings" RCA LM-1777. Her singing, vocally and emotionally, the singing of the Robert Shaw Chorale in the "Forza" scenes on the disc, even the conducting and playing as well as RCA's excellent mono engineering in Manhattan Center put it on my all time great list of vocal recitals.  For some reason, the digital reissues I've heard so far sound rather pallid compared to my LP (same with the complete studio "Trovatore" also from Manhattan Center). Makes me wonder if something happened to the original tapes.

Max Paley


Sent from my iPad

> On Apr 30, 2017, at 22:03, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> If her 1954 "Chenier" is about "as good as it gets", I'd have to say that the "Norma broadcast from the same year (the previous March) is as BAD as it gets (though the December, 1944 Norma of ten years earlier is much better).  To me, Milanov's greatest role was the Forza Leonora, especially as heard on the November, 1952 broadcast with Tucker and Merrill.  There was something in the music of Forza that mated with her voice beautifully, and in that 1952 broadcast, which I own, she sounds fabulous.  The 1954 Chenier runs it a close second.  A pity that her three broadcast Gioconda broadcasts of the 1950s have Kurt Baum instead of Mario del Monaco or Richard Tucker.  Ditto for her "Trovatore" broadcasts.
>> On April 30, 2017 at 7:19 PM Donald S <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> The 54 Chenier is about as good as it gets. If I had to pick Milanov's greatest role, the one she was most consistent in over the years and the one she sang better than almost anyone, I would pick Gioconda. 
>> 
>> Donald. 
>> 
>> Sent from my iPad
>> 
>>> On Apr 30, 2017, at 13:59, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Bob Rideout wrote:
>>> 
>>> "Late Santuzzas and Toscas were horrifying, but I have a sense
>>> that they were not that much different from her prime - the
>>> Tosca recording is a mess..."
>>> 
>>> Well, I like the Tosca recording, although I wouldn't say it was my favorite.  (The first Callas 
>>> recording and the 1956 Tebaldi broadcast tie for top slot, for me.)  Milanov's Tosca is great in 
>>> the live Covent Garden performance with Corelli.  But on the recording, her "I-Vhant-To-Be-
>>> Alone!" delivery of "Voglio vederlo!" is a hoot.
>>> 
>>> Of all Milanov's roles, even those in her prime, the one I like her in best is Maddalena in 
>>> "Andrea Chenier."  The part fit her voice to a T and she really identified with the character and 
>>> the dramatic situation.  The 1954 matinee performance with Del Monaco and Warren is one of 
>>> the great broadcasts in Met history:  three powerful man-'o-wars steaming up the channel.  
>>> Really great stuff.
>>> 
>>> MDW
>>> 
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