OP1595. LA GIOCONDA, Live Performance, 20 April, 1957, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Zinka Milanov, Gianni Poggi, Leonard Warren, Cesare Siepi, Nell Rankin, Bélen Amparán, etc. (Italy) 2-Arkadia 477. - 8011571477025
"Though Milanov appeared most often as Aïda (seventy-five times in New York and on tour) and many regard her TROVATORE Leonora as her finest achievement, Gioconda looms as the ultimate image of her stage persona and vocal manner. Her resources, both tangible and internal, were perfectly attuned to the role’s outsized musical and theatrical gestures….Milanov and Gioconda are one…."
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.153
"Milanov is absolutely endearing as the hapless Gioconda. Her belief in the character carries all before it - at least when she is in as splendid vocal form as she is on this afternoon....Milanov continues her assault, filling her broad phrases with reams of gorgeous tone. One feels the soprano is completely submerged in her role, giving entirely of herself emotionally and vocally. And she has it to give....to hear Milanov's fourth act is to capitulate completely. Her flamboyant, fruity rendition of the suicide aria is even better than the celebrated commercial recording."
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, pp.392 & 393
“Milanov came like a bolt out of heaven - the voice and the young woman, both so vibrant and exciting. We knew something great had come into [the Met’s] Italian wing. What was not obvious at the beginning was that she would have such a staying power, for she gave so much in her singing.…I was present years later on her great anniversaries and she sang at mine [the fiftieth anniversary of [my] Met début, 1963]. She was incomparable. She was like a vocal sorceress singing the OTELLO arias that night. Such a roar went up from the public, I can never forget it.”
- Giovanni Martinelli
“Poggi is at his best in the shout-em-out-of-the-theatre arias....pealed out with trumpet clarity.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2011
"Leonard Warren emerged as the principal baritone of the Met’s Italian wing in the early 1940s and remained so until his untimely death on the Met’s stage, 4 March, 1960, at the peak of his career. His smooth, velvety, and beautiful voice was powerful and had an unusually large range in its high register. It was easily and evenly produced, whether he sang softly or roared like a lion….Warren acted his roles primarily by vocal coloring, expressivity, and his excellent diction….his singing was unusually consistent….Warren’s legacy should be of interest to all lovers of great singing."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2006
"[Warren's] remarkable voice had a dramatic intensity which did not come naturally to him. As with everything else in his life, he worked at that until he got it right. Fortunately, his incomparable voice and dramatic power are still available to us on recordings of some of his most famous roles....[He] became one of the most famous and beloved operatic baritones in the world....Warren's flawless technique, seamless flow of sound, and brilliant top voice were his vocal trademarks and these qualities became the standard by which others would be measured, including me."
- Sherrill Milnes, AMERICAN ARIA, pp.76-77