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Subject: Re: Milanophobia
From: robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:01:53 -0400
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Well, Charles, you're right about that note - the soft B flat on "t'amo."
I had never heard her and  friend played me the '55 recording with di
Stefano and I really had never heard anything like it. Still haven't -
Caballé notwithstanding, although her gorgeous pianissimi had the faint
aura of a stunt. Milanov's, in Gioc and the Trov recording (that 4th act
aria!), seem more organic.
But since I never heard her live until the '60s, she can't be a "favorite"
of mine - her Maddalena was sour and uninteresting, and while her last act
"Ave Maria" in Otello was  ravishing, everything prior to it was ordinary,
matronly and uninvolved. If you say the 1940s was her decade, I believe
you, but it's hard for me to defend what I heard. And yes, I've heard parts
of the early Norma, and it was all voice and lacking a Callas/Scotto/Gencer
soul. And her coloratura wasn't there.
I heard Tebaldi late too, the one who sang flat and later, the one who
knocked me out in Gioconda and Fanciulla despite the stress on the very
highest notes. Talk about soul!
Respectfully, Bob L

On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 8:41 PM, Charles Affron <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> 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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