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Subject: Re: Milanov ( was Re: Noteworthy Opera/Vocal Reissues)
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 May 2017 11:09:50 -0700
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I agree with Max and have always felt that the prime years for Milanov were
the late 30's and the 40's up to about 1952-53.  While she could as Bob
Rideout says still be magnificent up to the end, that remains the prime
years.  As I have stated before, there was a lot of wear on the voice - the
biggest roles, including Turandot at 23 and Minnie at 25-26 that were in
her repertory from the beginning.  Many, many Aida's between 1928 & 58.
She wasn't a Netrebko who started as an ina & ana and progressed to spinto
and dramatic roles in her mid-40's.  I would love to have had them issue
Milanov Sings complete and the song recital.  German was close to her
native tongue, it was her 2nd language after Croatian and when she sings in
German, the voice sounds different.  Younger, more at ease.  Many of her
big roles were sung in German long before she learned Italian.

As for the later broadcasts, once past Ernani involami, there is much to
savor in the 1956 Ernani performance.  Ten years before it would have been
superb.  The Cheniers are pretty much all very fine.  All of the Gioconda
broadcasts show her at her best.  This was for me her greatest role and the
one she had in her voice.  The 1944 Norma is a major assumption.  By 54, it
became a bit scary but much of her singing is quite beautiful.  Somewhere
along the line she became stately with all that the word implies.  Her work
in the 30's and 40's is much more spontaneous and she takes chances.
Sometimes she misses, but much of what she does is exciting and vocally
superb.    And that voice - its got everything, amplitude, beauty and a
superb upper range.

As with some other singers, the recorded output is not the most
interesting.  All the arias from the 40's were re-recorded within the next
decade.  There is so much rep she didn't sing at the Met that could have
been recorded.  And, there is just no excuse for the 1955 Aida not having
been done in stereo.  The Forza and Gioconda should have been recorded five
years earlier although its nice to have her in Decca's superbly engineered
stereo.  Unfortunately, she and Warren were not Decca singers so there
seems to be little interest in these recordings and we will probably never
see them reissued again or given a better treatment then they already have.


While we are on it, I would have loved to have heard Maria Caniglia
recorded in stereo.  Love her or hate her (I love her) she was the most
important Italian spinto between Muzio and Tebaldi.  It was an important
voice and she had a major career.  Too bad EMI was so late getting on the
stereo boat also.  We could have had a bit of Ebe Stignani and maybe even
Beniamino Gigli in stereo, although I think there are one or two things he
recorded at the very end that were in fact in stereo.

Donald

On Mon, May 1, 2017 at 9:03 AM, Max Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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