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Happy Birthday Aprile Millo

The iconic American soprano was born April 14, 1958.

49 comments

  • Adalgisa says:

    I am sorry, but:
    1958: Give me a break!

    • brooklynpunk says:

      ….ROTFLMAO…!!

      ..I never thought I’d use the tea-bagger line…”Show us the Birth Certificate!!”

      • A. Poggia Turra says:

        Warning: Fading memory! Sometime in the 1980s (I think), the Los Angeles Times ran a detailed article about this singer. I seem to remember that the article first described some contretemps concerning a concert that the singer was to have given at the Wilshire Ebell theater.

        The article went on to talk about discrepancies abour her real name and age (in other words, concerning whether what the PR flacks were saying was true), and some “curious” information about her parents.

        I tried to look this up, however, the LA Times seems not to have online archives (I was willing to pay an access fee). Apparently the LA Public Library has searchable archives, but one must have a library card to use that resource.

    • callasorphan says:

      I remember when Aprile and Dalora were the “new” voices. I almost recked my car the first time I heard Aprile. She was singing Luisa live from the Met one Sat afternoon. I, in the full flush of youth, had to pull the car to the curb where I could scream BRAVA without killing myself or someone on the street. In fact, I wrote Aprile a fan letter stating that fact.

      • Despina says:

        I just about did the same thing a few months ago in the car listening to a Sirius broadcast with her singing “La mamma morta”!

      • luvtennis says:

        ON, CO, Kashie:

        I loved early Millo. There was something authoritative in the singing and phrasing that was incredibly refreshing after the struggles of Ricciarelli and Freni to assume the elusive Verdian mantle dropped by Lee on her way to recital heaven.

        (True, I felt at the time that Dunn had more of what it took to become a true golden-ager (her flexibility and more diaphanous sound offered broader rep possibilities), but Millo seemed to be destined to dominate the italian spinto roles. When Dunn cratered (and Studer announced that she would be recording the Ring, by herself), Millo had the field to herself.)

        That initial incredibly positive reaction was tempered by two concerns (yes, I was a self-important youngun):

        1) Why did that first aria recital leave out ALL of the florid music -- no cabalettas as I recall?
        2) How could such a young singer have such a mature ripe sound?

        I had listened to Renata and Price on pirates and knew that their “young” voices were just that -- young, fresh, lighter than there mature sounds, etc. Millo, in her late 20s sounded, sounded like late Renata and middle Zinka. I wondered if that boded well for her longevity. . . .

        Later, I felt a little cheated that Millo did not seem to develop her own artistic voice. Too much of her singing sounded like RenZinka Tebaldov. That said, there were many times when that sound, however superficially derivative, was just what the doctor ordered.

        In the end, for whatever reason, it didn’t last nearly as long as it should.

        A toast to a flame that should have burned longer and more brightly than it did. But I am thankful for the recorded legacy that she left us.

        • mia apulia says:

          I heard one of those early Simon B’s and thought that we were in for some kind of golden age. But it was a short and incomplete one. Too bad.

      • Pu-Tin-Pao says:

        Did she respond?

  • I honestly don’t think there are sopranos today with the same luxuriant rich and Italianate timbre. If there are, they are hiding them pretty well.

  • Arianna a Nasso says:

    I actually believe the 1958 birth year, Adalgisa. That would make her 26 at the time of her Met debut. Her quick rise at a young age could also explain a technique that never quite got settled, resulting in the vocal crisis at age 35 during the Met’s Lombardi run; natural talent can cover up a lot at a young age. That combined with the psychological pressure of being a top diva so young might also explain some of the erratic cancellations she had. Ricciarelli also had a very early rise to superstardom.

    • mia apulia says:

      I think Arianna is probably right. Even before the crisis there were a few too many (high)notes that would suddenly disappear, the kind of thing that can up the psychological pressure to the level of terror if there is not a technical answer that will work.

      Few flowers that bloom early in April make it through the summer. Gorgeous as they might be.

  • Donna Anna says:

    I wish I’d heard her live in her heyday. I was blown away by her early Met broadcasts. Her singing was extraordinary. She sang Tosca for Cincinnati Opera in 2006 and I was so disappointed with her performance, especially since one could hear there were aural glimpses of a superb dramatic soprano. Alas, she was under par; I remember cringing when she scooped up to “Vissi d’arte.” The evening belonged to an unknown tenor, one Antonello Palombi.

    • armerjacquino says:

      This was almost exactly my experience when I saw her as Tosca in 2006 at the Met- flashes of what had been, but overall an uncomfortable performance.

  • actfive says:

    Who on earth is that dreadful Wurm in the Luisa clip? That is singing typical of university-level comprimarios.

  • Nerva Nelli says:

    Isn’t that Franco de Grandis, brought to the Met by Bonynge alongside Livia Budai for to make Dame Joan’s Leonora sound better?

  • Clita del Toro says:

    Regarding “Mildred Pierce,” I found the HBO rather too long and mostly tedious, except for the last part. The production values were totally gorgeous and the acting excellent; and, of course, the TV show does follw the book rather closely. I did read the book years ago and found it a bit tedious to read as well.

    Comparing the movie with the HBO show is, imo, apples and oranges. The movie is a kind of film noir, an excellent one, which takes place in the forties. So all zzzzz depression stuff was out. And I personally don’t find shoulder pads, snoods or Joan Crawford “camp”.

    Have seen the movie seen many times and always enjoy it. I guess I could get through the TV show, maybe one more time if my bf wants to see it.

    It was nice that Haynes took the material so ‘seriously” bu.I prefer Written on the Wind..LOL

    And If I want camp acting , Niel, I can always watch one of Gruberova’s later DVDs.

    • Niel Rishoi says:

      I hope that that potshot, from your anonymous vantage point, evened out the score for you.

      In fact, this is a great site for people to hide and say whatever they want. I decided to use my name because I didn’t want to be a coward…and declare my likes as I am. Evidently, it has not done me any good, as the anonymous jungle red claws get bared.

      Therefore, I don’t belong on here. Addio.

  • Constantine A. Papas says:

    Donna Anna,

    Is this Palombi the same one who replaced Alagna at La Scala’s Aida when he was booed and walked out? I may have the names mixed up.

    • MontyNostry says:

      I thought that was Walter Fraccaro.

      • manou says:

        Walter F did the subsequent performances, but Palombi was indeed the unkempt guy in black jeans who replaced Alagna without the orchestra missing a beat.

  • Clita del Toro says:

    Niel, come on! Really?? “Jungle Red” I love it!

    1. Most on this list have fun names and obviously don’t use there real names. No one is hiding. Coward?? If you choose to use your own name, that’s entirely up to you. Don’t expect others to follow your example..

    2. No one gets away with dissing Joan!!! If you think she has no sex appeal, that’s your call; but Clark Gable and many (too many others) would have, however, differed with you.

    3, I think that Gruberova is a great singer and I always look forward to her Elvira when they play it on Sirius.

    4, Where is your sense of humor? Anti camp?

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      Niel likes to congratulate himself for using his real name every so often.

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      “Gruberova is a great singer”

      Indubitably the greatest Fiakermilli since Herma Handl.