Cher Public

“It’s a return!”

Which legendary operatic lady of New York, now in the twilight of her career, is currently studying a dusty old bel canto score in preparation for yet another comeback?

  • Still trying to figure out if there is any significance to the word “twilight” but the words “operatic lady” make me wonder if it’s not actually a cisgendered woman, but rather…

    Vera Galupe-Borszkh!

  • Krunoslav

    Perhaps Eve Queler is returning with Angela Meade in LE DUC D’ALBE or Mercadante’s VIRGINIA ( which Meade did at Wexford) or……..?

    • Konrad Swollenrod

      Considering that Angela Meade has a recording of Le Duc d’Albe on Opera Rara coming out next month, and also has sung “Virginia” at Wexford, I’d love to hear either one (although I must admit I’d prefer to hear the more rarely performed Mercadante).

  • rapt

    I’ve been trying to figure out how “dusty” might be a clue, and now I’m sure I’ve got it: dusty-->dusty miller (centaurea cineraria)-->April (Ha)mill-->Aprile Millo. It’s obvious once you think about it.

    • actfive

      Wait! My childhood nickname was Dusty!! Could it be ME?????

      • JohninSeattle

        Gelb will be contacting you shortly. I hear your co-star is 45 tons -- a bit girthy but she’s a colorful girl and when she starts to move… STAND BACK!

    • PushedUpMezzo

      I reckon Deborah Voigt is dusting off her Dusty Springfield tribute act.

      • Milady DeWinter

        There was no one like Dusty! Brava!

  • Vorspiel

    Whatever happened to Carol Vaness?

    • armerjacquino

      Sang for about 30 years, retired, now teaching.

  • Milady DeWinter

    Whatever one thinks of Millo, there’s no denying Cieca’s clip of Millo in the Act I scena from Pirata is a pretty sensational sing.
    When she was good, I thought she was practically sensational. (I never CAN quite nail down those periods of “in vocal grace” and “out of vocal grace”) The voice, with its spacious, creamy middle and lovely pianos in the passagio and above, always reminded me of Tebaldi -- but with agility and a real top beyond B natural. Her onstage diva charmed me, an embodiment of old school italianita clutch and stagger that somehow works with singers who thoroughly believe in it and have the vocal goods to back it up.
    And for what it’s worth, re: Lachner recits in Medea: I’m for them. I do think they add a Beethovenian power to the score, that it sounds better in Italian, and all in all, it was probably The Greekess at her most electrifying. Compare the original French, Lachner-purged, poorly sung and awfully dull set made some twenty years ago (?) with Rosalind Plowright. A tepid affair that sounds like a somewhat miffed Medea showed up at a bal masque by Auber.

  • tiger1

    Apart from the gender and the fact that Tosca can hardly be called “a dusty old belcanto score”, it could be Paul Plishka who, according to, is having a comeback as Benoit/Alcindoro (five performances April-May) in Boheme, despite his performance as Sacristan was supposed to be his farewell to staged opera.

  • Pia Ngere-Liu

    After yesterday, there are some people at work who most definitely un-blessed me -- but thanks for the wishes. Regarding the Supervia vibrato -- I agree, I cannot listen to a lot at once. But not so bad that one gets rid of the CDs. I am listening to the extract from “Hansel e Gretel”. It is all quite charming.

    I also agree on La Vergine del Angeli as duet. Just a pity that she didn’t record the cabaletta do the Nile duet with Martinelli.

    Regaring Lubin, what do you think of the Raponi book -- Last Prima Donnas? I listened to her singing Erlkonig today -- in very good German. Tragic life.

    And Supervia is now on “Ai capricci della sorte!”. It should be able to give a smile to even the meanest disposition. And from biographies she sounded to be a nice fun person too. I love the way in which she rolls her R’s -- like Bartoli in Norma, just with a little less vengeance.

    • Pia Ngere-Liu

      And sorry, I beg forgiveness, I forgot about this one:

    • Milady DeWinter

      Regaring Lubin, what do you think of the Raponi book — Last Prima Donnas?

      -The Rasponi book is an entertaining read as long as you keep in mind that it was written by a reactionary who made up most of his material (did every prima donna really say “I was EVER so grateful that Maestro Puccini said I was the BEST Minnie (or fill in another role as applicable)” or “I was EVER so grateful that I got the LAST of the true bel canto schooling!” Really Gilda dalla Rizza? (among other veristas who couldn’t sing a simple scale or grupetto if their life depended on it) and that his chief angle seemed to be to trash Callas, but ever so nicely.
      Fair and balanced Rasponi is, like Fox News.
      For a better, smarter, well-written read on singers from the dawn of acoustics to the electric era, I recommend Michael Scott’s “Record of Singing,” vols. 1 and 2.

  • Pia Ngere-Liu

    Yes, I refer to “The Last Prima Donnas”. I didn’t know parts of it were made up. It is still entertaining though. I will look out for the Michael Scott book, thanks for the recommendation. Amazon recommends it together with the “the Grand tradition of singing” by John Steane. I always liked his writing from Gramophone -- one could start reading the review and immediately know it was him.

  • Milady DeWinter

    Oh yes, by all means, read the Rasponi, Pia. It is fun. It’s not entirely made up, of course, but he does have an agenda, and the very diverse group of prima donnas all come across sounding much like each other, and I think that’s Rasponi’s fault.

    • rapt

      One particularly comical likeness among the profiles, as I recall, is that every one of these singers claims to have retired, not because of the slightest diminution of vocal ability, but because of the sadly declining standards of opera production.

      • Pia Ngere-Liu

        Haha -- so true. And they dont talk about “standards of opera production” but of “the lyric theatre”. They all had something to say about Callas’s voice being tortured and manufactured. And all the Italians hate Scotto and Freni. And many made comments regarding Flagstad being the greatest of them all. I always wondered why the book excluded Schwarzkopf but included Callas. The quote about Pagliughi “The fact that her weight was four times that of most other prima donnas did not disturb me in the least” and “I was unprepared for the fact that she is now so heavy that I do not believe there exists a scale that could possibly do her justice”.