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Subject: Re: Nell Rankin's Amneris - and a Milanov Question
From: Paul Ferraro <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Ferraro <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:23:01 -0400
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Enough of La Z. already.  As for Nell Rankin, I recall seeing her as 
Azucena, Laura, Marina & Ortrud.  I thought that she was an excellent B+ 
mezzo, with very high praise for her  Ortrud.  Overall, I greatly 
preferred Ms. Rankin to that rather annoying Irene Dalis.


DonPaolo


On 10/11/2017 2:40 PM, Max D. Winter wrote:
> I have been listening to a Met broadcast of "Aida," March 8, 1952, with Milanov, Del
> Monaco, Rankin, and Warren.  The big surprise for me was Nell Rankin's Amneris, which is
> really excellent.  Rankin was one of the singers I heard often when I was young, as she
> sang a great deal with the San Antonio opera.  I hear her as Amneris, Azucena, Marina and
> Brangaene.  I never liked her that much.  Even at a young age, I thought her voice was one
> of those with a quavery vibrato that obscured the actual pitch she was singing (something
> that has always bugged me in any singer).  Also, I just didn't like the way she looked and
> moved on stage.  Those young impressions have remained with me and I have never sought
> out Rankin's broadcast recordings to see if I needed to re-assess.  (My early opinion was not
> improved by seeing Rankin as Gutrune in 1975 - an odd bit of casting, I thought.)
>
> Well, her 1952 Amneris is a really fine piece of work - a beautiful clear voice with a good top
> (with no quavery vibrato!), good characterization and musicianship.  Her voice doesn't really
> have the heft needed for the latter part of the Judgment Scene but she is close enough to
> get the job done impressively.
>
> Milanov sings gloriously as Aida, far and away the best broadcast performance of her in this
> role that I have heard.  The sound is drop-dead gorgeous, phrases are floated, and she nails
> the high C in "O patria mia" without screaming it, although it is forte and she doesn't linger
> on the note.  Incidentally, for those who heard Milanov live as Aida, I have a question: did
> she ever sing the high C with a floated pianissimo like she does on her 1953 recital
> recording?  In every broadcast performance I have heard (even the early ones in the 40s),
> she approaches the note hastily at forte, sometimes with a screamy quality, and does not
> linger or float and the effect is often rather graceless.  Was that gorgeous rendition on disc
> for the studio only or could she do it live?
>
> Del Monaco is stentorian - exciting, but hardly subtle or graceful, all warrior and no lover.
> Warren sounds like he is phoning his performance in.  Cleva is competent but a bit dull.
>
> MDW
>
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