Are the Roses Still Blooming by the sweet Bendemeer?

•September 26, 2014 • Comments Off

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Such an exciting time ahead. Filled with opportunity to feel alive and sing and share music.

In a world where I am entering literally the adult prime of my life for a voice grown in size, now become a true spinto, leaning towards dramatic, my luck is that the world of opera has gone crazy and after 35 you are supposed to slink off and what? For what?  40 and you are supposed to be done?  We would never have had Flagstad, who debuted at 39 in her true voice, and so many other voices that grew into their instruments, the way fine wine gets better with time.  It was and is supposed to be that way with voice too.

I have never ever been dutiful and done what I was told to do, why start now?  I have been singing since I was 9, made my debut in 1980 in Aida in Utah, 1982 at La Scala, 84 at the Metropolitan Opera… we are looking at a 30 plus year career of singing!   I have a little more to say in my soul and in my singing, so I resolve to sing. I find an industry more like MGM, and figure and face is everything. It isn’t just presentation, that is important, but it isn’t everything, yet so many have drunk the Kool-Aid and bought in to this gotta dance, gotta sing, gotta….whatever, but look good and be prepared to show a lot of skin.  Luciano did warn me this was where it was all going and I did not help matters by growing larger than I should be, and certainly I played recluse better than Garbo.  Listening to what is presented on stage, I felt, why not. Get back in the parade.  I don’t want to sit back, hide. I want to fight for this art form I love. I hate when they call it a dinosaur, then they say it is dead.  It isn’t dead, they aren’t good enough to kill it.  It adjusts, but it has to keep the core of what it is to go forward.

I am  true to my old fashioned ways, same message I gave at the beginning of my life in music is the consistent one I still offer today.  Stay true to the music, let the words carry the story, fill it with noble sound, and get out there and leave everything on the stage….

Listening to Anna Netrebko the other night, who sang a wonderful Lady Macbeth, she did what I love and she gave it everything she had. I admire her so much, and she enjoyed a terrific success, and it helps that I like her a lot. She has always been herself as much as one can before the public, and she is one of the few I will actually go and see, this next Saturday matinee I hope, if I can get in. Happy news when something sells out and it might just do that.

Why do I love this?   Because it is generous and giving and ample…..  what I like in singing….  I don’t have press people running around for me, telling everyone, I just do it, and those that come and hear me, see and hear that.

My advice to everyone singing, wanting to, or trying to, or studying to?  Just do it, have love for what you are doing,  be humble in the face of the greatness of the music , make sure your style is correct in the utterance of the composer, and have nothing but pride about be a singing instrument, a living Strad . Being an opera singer is a disciplined privilege  and an honor,  and working towards being a really great communicator is something special. Working for, and living in the words given to you to express the composers time and feelings, yet, when you have thought about it, couldn’t they really be your own? Haven’t we all loved and lost, and won? Wanted someone who did not want us back, or couldn’t love someone who wanted us? Had to please our families, appease their expectations of us, fulfill their hopes as well as our own. Politically charged times are exactly like the times most of the supposed dinosaur operas were written in?  Far from dead, opera has a lot more to say… and I guess so do I!

Opera is so screamingly relevant now as it ever was, it just doesn’t seem to have people as trusting of its greatness.

And so, we continue. Pray to be worthy and go forward. Happily, at this writing I am looking forward to a weekend in Canada, presenting a fabulous group of young Canadians,all under the watchful eye of a young PhD scholar who happens to sing really well, in fact as gorgeous as she is, so is her voice. Hate her. Mary-Lou Vetere is a throw back. A properly, beautifully raised young Canadian girl, from a third generation Calabrese family…. and she is every bit that, Italian to the core. You cannot imagine how good she is…It will also  be very interesting hearing this studio she works so hard for, filled with fantastic talent, and presenting it in a sanctuary is perfect. A refuge. An oasis. Young people in LOVE with the Art and inspired. I feel blessed being around this and it renews my spirit. I have chosen to do it differently,this evening will be like nothing you could imagine. Opera will come alive right in front of your eyes….

Nov.13th, 2014    Aprile Millo presents the Vetere Studio in OPERA SPECTACULAR! At the gorgeous Trinity St.Paul’s Centre in Toronto, Canada.

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Then  NOV 15th, 2014  immediately after, …is a recital with me.….same bat-time, same-bat place, well one half hour later for my concert at 7:30 with the amazing virtuoso pianist, Linda Ippolito, a fantastic attorney and a very accomplished concert pianist. Featuring Guest Star Gustavo Ahualli, a rich-voiced baritone from The Teatro Colon, and Mary-Lou on accordion, Merynda Adams, on harp and possibly the organist from the St. Paul’s Church as they have a massive organ on stage….and some surprises…..maybe.

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Then dashing back to New York for the rare privilege of singing for Duane Printz and her amazing Teatro Grattacielo as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary in New York. An evening of seldom heard Verismo pieces, and I have the august opportunity and emotional chance to celebrate also two great friends of mine who were so very fabulous in so many roles but in these kinds of roles that demand attention to word and line and truthful heartbreak, they reigned supreme, they even knew some of the composers! Licia Albanese and Magda Olivero,  and Carlo Bergonzi, all who just this year, within a few months of each other,  crossed into the Paradise they would bring us every time they sang… . I will light a little flicker of their flame that night and sing in their memories what I was asked to sing…. the Third Act from Leoncavallo’s amazing “Zazá” with some terrific colleagues and Maestro Israel Gurksy, and a piece my mom studied with the composer herself,  Refice.  Licia sang together with Muzio on tour,alternating roles,  and she gave me a great compliment  after she heard me sing this scene for a Gala At AVA, saying she had never heard anyone do it since Muzio as well as me….she was crying when she said it…it will be hard to sing it that night to be sure. The Last Act death and transfiguration of Cecilia in the beautiful music that was penned by a priest who adored Claudia Muzio’s voice. He wrote her a sacred opera on the life of the patron saint of music. Cecilia. Nov.18th at the Skirball Hall in New York.

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We arrive at end of November and I return to a brand new production of Tosca in Genoa beginning the 20th of December with Maestro Auguin and with Gregory Kunde and Carlos Alvarez. We could have something special here. Working feels good, serving music feels best. I cannot wait to sing again in that vital and wonderful theater filled with people who believe in the power of opera and in the beauty of it’s message. Italy after all…of course , they would know.

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I am enjoying this so much….those of you who read and understand what this means to me, pray for me. I want to please Puccini, the public, his dearest Granddaughter, Simonetta, who I have come to adore. And most importantly, I want to serve music, feel it’s glory around me. We will see if the roses still bloom, and I think I see a few new buds springing up, and that is strong good news, because it will be winter! Here I go, down the path that life leads me…. it’s the best thing I have in life, the gift that God gave me…. In this depressing time of people ringing death knells for the opera,  I want to get out and fight for it… I am not alone!   This is just the start and so much more to come!

Come find me on this walk, and come say,  alla Puccini,  “hallo!”.

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Gather ye rosebuds while thee may….. I plan to do so, with everything I got, and  with so much joy and gratitude!!!

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Happy Birthday to me…..!

•April 14, 2014 • Comments Off

Happy Birthday to me.....!

Though we scream and kick and holler about growing older, I for one prefer it to the alternative.

I love and have always loved since I was a child the presence of older people. People alive when things to me where more authentic, clothes were hand stitched, and food not so preserved but healthier. When class was being polite and well spoken, and you cared about one another. “Hail Fellow, well met!” was a basis of thought and a matter of being… the world seemed gentler with an edge, danger was still danger but it wasn’t a video game where people or creatures are destroyed for points.  People were truly creative because they had to be, nothing was easy.  Curiosity, and respect was a rigorous discipline, it was the mark of a good person.  Respect for authority and a belief in someone more intelligent to teach you, was a great promise often kept, and being wrong didn’t make you stupid, it just meant, happily, you didn’t know it all. Being nice made you a person of character and not like today, where it seems as if you are thought of as a chump. It was never perfect, there is no perfection outside the first few seconds of a butterfly springing from out of it’s cocoon… no time period is without drawbacks.  All I can say is in instinct……Beware a bored populace, where everything is immediate and nothing is set aside to get the mind towards things of beauty and introduced to a higher thought or culture.

So here come I celebrating my birthday, grateful to God for that, for all and I truly mean all of my family and friends, they are a blessing, a window for my soul to see better and best the world and events around me…. to cultivate curiosity and applaud a sense of gratitude for all the blessings abundant around me….. of that I am forever grateful…

and last but not least, a return to singing….!!!!

More to follow on that, happily.

But about that, there must be this….

A commitment to following through now to the bitter end the struggle with numbers, scales do not lie, and not hiding in those numbers any further. I will be performing no matter the case, so I must decide how much I want to believable in what I do…..

Like it or not, theater and movies have invaded an art form that needs distance, for impact of thought and vision and sound. Voices need to have space to bloom, as do ideas….but that is not the course of today’s guardians…. so how do I make an audience suspend their disbelief and come with me on a special voyage of music and poetry and song, and do what all good theater people do, “Tell a story” ……because opera is the grand buffet of theater, it has it all… so, the truth is, so must I…. for what I have left to give, and in honor of what I have given and will give… I must try….

Here we go! …. come with me…. fight for this art form not in a passive way, but loudly, and full of pride…be not the undertaker and decry it’s all over, it’s dead… no one wants to go to a funeral…

Be the one that says with their life, with their love and joy, this is a great and powerful emotion I give you… this is a brush with the eternal I help you glimpse,  a chance to touch the Mona Lisa, something rare, because each singer and their message is that, like a fingerprint……no tricks, this is magic….!!!

On this my birthday, 2014 wish me well, and stay in touch…. much more to come.

Time, is the handsome man in this portrait, and the young lady is all of us, rather than fight it, enjoy the ride, this passage of time, and no matter what, give, give,give……

How very sweet it is!!

•February 18, 2014 • Comments Off

Cardinal O'Connor with Tebaldi..... Tina

Many years ago in New York with my beloved idol of all idols, the voice of and the soul of a real angel, Renata Tebaldi when she was honored at Sunday Mass by then Cardinal O’Connor.  There too among her friends is the cherished Tina, who I got to see it Italy and who made this trip even more special…. spending time with her and her little puppy, Bonnie Tre…. and Giovanna Colombo of the Commite’ Renata Tebaldi who are opening this splendid museum in Early June, and the fabulous Marisa…. what a joyous chance to see them and spend time in Renata’s gorgeous apartment in Milano. It felt like she was there… she was and is always near…. and beaming radiant smiles from on high.  Powerful amazing soul on Earth, can you imagine how powerful in Paradise?  Love and miss her and it meant the world to me to spend time and catch up with the amazing people there. Tina is so adorable and brilliant. What a great lady she is too.

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The manifesti outside the historic Teatro Carlo Felice.  So very proud to return to Italy in a house that really takes real opera seriously, run by amazing people and filled with young and vital people who don’t think of opera as anything other than thrilling and viable and far from dead.  MY kind of people… Loved my colleagues, the maestro, precious and amazing saw every one through the opera with class and knowledge and humor…and I adored him.

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Masterpieces came easy to him.  This atmospheric, hypnotic opera Il Tabarro, caught me deep.  The world that exists for a little under an hour will haunt you the rest of your life.

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Venice.  How much of my life was spent there….. I encountered so many versions of myself it made me laugh. How very magical and beautiful, mysterious, full of history and real beauty.  This was my very breathtaking view of the waters and boats and sights of Venice, right outside the window. What an amazing way to wake up….!!!

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She is fixed on the road ahead, waiting for someone or some event, and he sits staring at her throughout all eternity….

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This is so timeless, the look, the beautiful carving, the human quality captured, the passage of time. Love him.

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This is how I feel before, during and after a performance…. looking to God for inspiration, for protection, hop0ing to feel his pleasure as I use the gifts he gave me.  So very aware without that spiritual connection for me, I would wither away on the vine, it becomes a paycheck and ego… with the connection it becomes something akin to heaven on earth.

Verdi

For years I never wanted to see where Verdi lay in eternal sleep, at last where his blessed remains sleep. I want to imagine him alive forever, and when I did finally arrive to pay my respects and give gratitude for how this man has shaped my life in melody and message, I could very much feel him alive still.  Like Puccini, buried in the wall that his piano is pushed up against in the room right next to his resting, Verdi rest in the center of his home built for singers to retire, to feel safe and end out their days in dignity .  How perfect Verdi is surrounded by music as well. As I made my way to his tomb, in the open cortile that surrounds it, a fabulous voice of one of the residents was signing a part of the music of Puccini (!) from La Boheme.  I said loudly “Viva Verdi”…. but still loved it that someone would be singing that well just as I visited this man from Parma who so changed my life. Thank you for that wink long ago in Busseto when I was 20 and searching for your approval before the first time I sang in the Voce Verdiane concorso.  First time I ever sang with orchestra, Hugh Ross conducted, and the Angelo Campora the finals. At your statue, you winked when I said sing through me…. I will be your vessel if you wish…. and boy did you.  Winning by unanimous decision, the 18th edition of the Concorso Voci Verdiane in 1978. Thank you for this, and all the magic and glory you give the world in your music…. I will love you till the day we get to meet in Heaven, I hope.

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Simonetta Puccini, a rare, adorable, amazing woman.  We felt like we knew one another before…. so comfortable and happy I was to meet her, and to share with her my first Tabarro.  She was so gracious in her praise, said she has never enjoyed a performance of this opera more and that I was very communicative and with such colors of voice and style, it had changed her perspective on this glorious opera.  Not every day to hear such praise…. and I recount it only to share with my friends and fans this woman’s vitality and support for her Grandfathers music.  She works tirelessly to bring success and continued support to his masterpieces and I outright adored her.  Graciously giving me a private tour of the Torre Del Lago, on a day right out of one of his operas.

Raining, violent waters, pouring cascades and blistering winds, yet I never felt safer.  I thrived in it’s emotion, loved the feel of the place. Passion.  The house felt like he was going to come in any minute. His final resting place, pictured below, was so luminous and radiantly alive, I felt happy for him and all those that lay with him in that tomb. There was a hint that he had arrived in the paradise he gave us a glimpse of on earth in his very human, compelling and compassionate stories. One has to believe that Verdi and Puccini are in a Paradise built by their sacrifices and their gifts and talents…. their melodies built them their rightful place in Heaven.  I see the spiritual in everything and probably annoy the ones who don’t believe there is a “here after….”

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Then amazingly, another rare moment that rang so deeply inside me I could hear bells for hours….. seeing my dear friend, Tina Viganò, long time cherished friend and accomplished confidante of the great Renata Tebaldi.  I cannot tell you the joy and happiness I had being with her and Giovanna and Marisa, and hearing all the plans for the official opening of the Commite’ Renata Tebaldi’s museum in her honor in Busseto.  My dear friend, Mary-Lou Vetere a devout Tebaldi fan as well, was bocca aperta at all the amazing knowledge of Tina and the fantastic stories recounted about an historic voice and career of Tebaldi….we could listen for hours….and the little puppy extraordinare, Bonnie the 3, which I called Bonnie Tre…. very adorable indeed.  No words can express really how I felt being in the apartment of Renata, where again I felt the radiance of this amazing artist and friend so many times.  How I missed her, but could feel she was close.

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A real great man is in residence now….. he makes me proud to be Catholic….. so excited for all of us.

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This tempest that accompanied my visit to Torre Del Lago.  Perfect passion and emotion and inside, radiant and happy LIFE.  He seemed like he would walk right in at any moment.  Simonetta Puccini, in a gracious rare personal tour of the house and areas, became a dear friend the night of the Il Tabarro in Genova. I feel like we were friends already for a long time.  Love her, and look forward to helping her in any way I can.

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So these are ramblings, scattered photos, and little snaps of a return to life, to something I love more than anything, to sing.  To feel God’s pleasure as I do.  I have missed it so, and now am determined to return to physical form, not yet accomplished, and give everything I have left to this art form that has made me rich beyond measure spiritually, and in every way distinguished my voyage this life, in ways I will never know how to say thank you enough for…….  Thank you Mom and Dad, and all who started me on this walk…. those who have sustained me along the way, the composers and inspirations that have nourished me, and all those who walk it with me….. thank you Lord for this amazing chance to be of service once  again…..

A Swan that loves the ground under her feet

•January 8, 2014 • Comments Off

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Fantastic to study a new person, in music. This restless woman, this woman, unlike the swan, beautiful and gliding on water, but awkward and almost silly on ground, Giorgetta wants to feel the ground secure under her feet and feels off put and off balance on the water. Hates to float around on the water. Misses interaction with the world, a kind of purgatory , as it was I think originally created to be by Puccini…. what incredible music…. so much still to discover…. a journey in music. So many flights of melody soaring that come back to Earth, she is so desperate to get away…to be free, yet she remains with Michele? Different times, but her betrayal…. the baby, the loss. Still coming to terms with her story, so I may tell it in my heart and with my sound in an honest way….

Aprile Millo with Christmas Through the Ages”(c.)2013

•December 29, 2013 • Comments Off

Aprile Millo with Christmas Through the Ages”(c.)2013

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CD Baby and Now on Amazon.com!!! Album

This is a musical singing Christmas Card from Aprile Millo to her fans. “Christmas Through the Ages” was arranged and played by Dr. Mary-Lou Vetere.

Millo Debuts in new Role: Il Tabarro

•December 29, 2013 • Comments Off

Millo Debuts in new Role: Il Tabarro

 

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Puccini Gala
Donato Renzetti, direttore
Donata D’Annunzio Lombardi, soprano
Aprile Millo, soprano
Rudy Park, tenore
Carlos Almaguer, baritonoOrchestra, Coro e Coro di voci bianche del Teatro Carlo Felice
venerdì 7 febbraio ore 20,30
Giacomo Puccini, Suor Angelica
Giacomo Puccini, Il tabarro
In forma di concerto

Aprile Millo New Extended play Christmas CD

•December 25, 2013 • Comments Off

Aprile Millo New Extended play Christmas CD

Aprile Millo sings almost 15 minutes of Christmas Carols in a stunning arrangement created by Dr. Mary Lou Vetere as a tribute to her fans and to donate some of the proceeds to NO KILL Shelters from “Jesse Sent Me”, a new fund in memory of her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Jesse James who crossed into Paradise this year!!!  Come enjoy and also make a difference……Aprile Millo %22Christmas Through the Ages!%22 1477934_10151927251172772_293041158_n

 

 

 

 

 
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