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Subject: Milanophobia
From: Charles Affron <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:41:24 -0400
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Yes, her late recordings and live broadcasts are full of embarrassing
moments. But having heard her often in the house, let me assure the
doubters that hers was one of great voices of mid-century. My first vivid
aural memory is of Milanov in the first matinee of new Forza in 1952. The
impact of the sound and the control of dynamics and timbre compensated for
moments, in hind-hearing, that lack nuance, or are poorly vocalized. She
was never the same after the 1954 run of Norma. She had good nights, but I
sense that her confidence had wavered. During Bing's first seasons, the
Trovatores (I never heard her Aida in the house) were unforgettable and, in
some ways, unequaled. And the air checks from the 30s and 40s (Gioconda
and, most particularly, Norma) display a dramatic soprano instrument like
none other. At the risk of repeating a cliche, "You had to have been
there." And has anyone ever come near her rendition of the Act I Gioconda
moment. True, it's only a note, but it tells a great deal about a singer.

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