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Subject: Re: Milanov's !955 Ballo Live From The Met
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:36:14 -0500
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I've heard that performance.  in Paul Jackson's book, "Saturday AFternoons at the Old Met/Volume II, he is very severe and harsh in his evaluation O Metternich, who I don't think appeared at the Met after that season.  He praises Tucker AND Milanov (though he calls attention to the very abbreviated high Cs from Milanov.  By contrast, he reviews a later Met Ballo broadcast in December, 1955, in which he is highly critical of Milanov, but is very positive about Peerce.  It was also the afternoon that Marian Anderson made her only radio appearance (to my knowledge) as Ulrica.  Needless to say, while Jackson notes the importance of it as an event of social significance, he also acknowledges the erosion of her voice by that late period in her career. Significantly, he opines that Milanov is nowhere near as good here as she was on the previous broadcast the previous year.
     Sony has put this performance on CD and it's very inexpensive.  I think that Jackson is too hard on Milanov in this instance.  I own the recording and the only blemish I can really point out is the fact that neither Milanov nor Tucker take the high C at the end of the great duet in Act II, but rather resolve it on the C an octave lower.  If one of them would have taken it, there would have been at least a harmonizing effect.  But here there is none.  It was not a great afternoon for either of them.
     If one wants to hear how outstanding Milanov was in this role, they must seek out the newest edition on Myto or Pristine, where that famous 1940 broadcast with Bjoerling (at age 29) and Milanov (at age 34) sing up a storm.  
     Callas, of course, undertook the role at La Scala in 1957 and had a great success. It was the only time she sang it on stage (though she made a complete studio recording and there's also a live broadcast in good sound from the opening night of the La Scala season).  Tebaldi did a recording of the opera with Pavarotti in 1970 (at the age of 48) and was NOT well received by any critic that I encountered.  It was simply too late. The role was completely beyond her at that point.
     Going back to that Milanov "Ballo" from the Met in 1955, it's a reflection of a typical Ballo performance at Met in the 1950s.  Merrill sings a good Renato, but Warren would have been so much better had he been in the cast.

                                                    
     
> On September 19, 2017 at 10:42 AM tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> Milanov was nearly 50 in 1955. I doubt Callas, Tebaldi, or many others would have done as well as Amelia at that age. Price and Caballe, perhaps, but certainly not Callas or Tebaldi who never even attempted the role on stage. Singers that age tend to have more bad nights than in their prime years.
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Buoso Donati <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 11:24 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [OPERA-L] Milanov's !955 Ballo Live From The Met
> 
> I never was a Milanov fan, and after listening to a "bleeding chunk" of her
> Ballo on Sirius today, I remembered why.
> 
> I was in the car and tuned in during "MorrĂ³, ma prima in grazia".
> 
> She received no more than polite applause at the conclusion of the aria.
> 
> Shockingly bad singing from a singer who had a major career and so many fans.
> 
> The conducting (Mitropoulos) was equally bad.
> 
> Poor Metternich. How he ever got through "Eri tu" at that ridiculously slow
> tempo was a miracle.
> 
> Peters' Oscar, as you would expect, was excellent.
> Didn't hear enough of Tucker to form an opinion.
> 
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