V2555. ZINKA MILANOV, w.Vincent La Selva Cond. Trenton S.O.: Arias from Otello, La Boheme, Cavalleria & Gianni Schicchi - Live Performance, 13 Nov., 1966 - Milanov's Final Performance; Otello - Ave Maria - Live Performance, 15 April, 1965, Met Opera; Milanov's Farewell speech, 13 April, 1966, Met Opera; William H. Wells [New York Opera Club] Interviews Zinka Milanov, 1962 [an exhaustive 69-minute interview discussing her entire career]. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-648, front cover featuring a previously unknown Boston 1956 Milanov photo by Thomas Murphy. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"I have just spent a couple of hours in music lover's heaven. Oh my! Milanov! The items from the concert in Trenton are just knockouts; you look at the date, the year she retired, at 60, and you would think you were listening to her in the early 1950s at her unequaled peak. No sense of wear or strain or having to push, just lovely singing. But even more gripping, is the long series of interviews with her . Yes, she is reminiscing about her career, but you notice right off that what she keeps coming back to when talking about the various roles she sang is knowing the markings in the score. We loved her for that unique voice; you knew it was Milanov on the first note, but beyond that unique quality, that unique sound, was the musician behind it. She did not just make the remark once - it comes in all through the interview and it says so much about why she was Milanov. When Leonard Warren made a very strong point that the critics who took pot shots at Milanov did not know the opera, and he said, very firmly and repeated it: 'she knows every mark in her score'. Secondly, she makes very strongly the point that singers should sing what suits their voice, not their ambitions. She does not name names, but she does comment that some contemporaneous singers who wanted the big dramatic roles not right for their voices, that they will harm the voice - that's when Tebaldi decided she could sing Gioconda, and Scotto thought she could sing Norma. No Milanov zingers here, probably just as well, for those youngsters who never heard her nor know what she meant to her listeners would not realize how absolutely down to earth and honest she was when Scotto contradicted her comment that Norma was very difficult to sing. Scotto said Norma was easy to sing, and Zinka shot back, 'it's easy when you sing it badly!' The interview puts that in the proper context, not being bitchy, but exactly what she meant when she said that singers should sing the repertoire for which their voice is suited.
What a glorious treat it is to hear her - and very much herself. I had no idea you were putting this together, Jim, so it was a double surprise. I am, as always, overwhelmed by your kindness!"
- Dr. Helen Hatton, University of Toronto
"One of the last of a breed of thoroughbred singers, [Milanov] is mistress of an operatic grandeur that has all but vanished."
- John Ardoin, Metropolitan Opera Archives
"In the dramatic Italian roles, the greatest soprano I ever sang with was Zinka Milanov. Milanov had one of the greatest voices of this century - she had such power, such dramatic drive in her voice - and she had such pure top tones, including a pianissimo even on the high C, if she wanted."
- Alexander Kipnis
"Ah, Milanov, the great Milanov. You must know that for me it was the queen of voices."
- Licia Albanese
"How I wish I could share with the world the tonal memories I have of [Milanov] singing in each of these [operas, GIOCONDA & NORMA]: it was unlike anything since, and very likely anything to come....a ravishing thread of gold over me, over the audience, and straight to heaven."
- Blanche Thebom, THE OPERA QUARTERLY, Spring, 1990
"That great voice would resound around the Metropolitan Opera House long after she halted the note. Forte or piano, it didn't matter - either one. I don't have to put on a record to hear Milanov's voice when I want to, either. I can call that sound to mind any time I want just in my head. That's what being unforgettable means."
- Regina Resnik
"When referring to Milanov, who was then in her fifties, the writer - of the article in Time magazine many years ago centering on Tebaldi and Callas - mentioned that as far as sheer beauty of voice was concerned, [Milanov's] was still the most beautiful. I concur. It was luminous, had an amazing ability to blend with the strings of the orchestra, and seemed to come from no place at all, but swim around and fill every contour of the hall. The sound of this particular voice, to me the most beautiful of all voices, continues to fill me with increasing wonder'."
- Raymond Beegle, FANFARE, May/June, 2006
"In my childhood in St. Petersburg I heard Battistini and Tetrazzini. After our family's post-revolution escape to New York, which took in fact several very difficult years, I heard Caruso, Gigli, Destinn, Ponselle, Muzio, Ruffo, Chaliapin. In later life, I heard Milanov, one of the last throwbacks to the great singing of earlier eras. To be able to command the full space of a house the size of the Metropolitan with a mere thread of tone, that is greatness."
- Aida Favia-Artsay
“Milanov's movement was all from emotion, never from thought. If you could get into her frame of mind, she could actually be quite moving. If not, you found it more of the silent film variety of acting, in which pantomime had to make up for the lack of sound. But of course Milanov had the advantage of the sound to go with the pantomime, and her acting and her singing were of a piece. She always knew what the character’s situation was emotionally, and she could convey it so rightly in the sound, the inflection — she had the greatest dynamic range, from soft to loud, of any singer perhaps there has ever been. She was nonetheless difficult to work with because if you told her something that went against how she felt a certain moment, there was resistance, often, I might say, terminal resistance.…About the time you were so exasperated that you couldn’t go on, she would sing something so magnificently that it didn’t matter at all what she did at the same time. I am the director, and I state that heresy. So very often people who moved more fluidly, more realistically, did not have in the sound, in the voice, the real meaning. They were no less lacking than the singer who was not a first-rate actor.”
- Dino Yannopoulos