I was inspired years ago reading the auto-biographies of Mary Garden, Lillian Nordica, Helen Traubel, Eileen Farrell, Grace Moore, and recently the biographies of Ponselle and Sutherland. The books of Lauri-Volpi on singers of his era and before; Celletti’s histories of great singers and my favorite, Marcia Davenport’s “Of Lena Geyer”.
Singers writing about their lives and thoughts.Then I was privvy to a fabulous series in the late Fifties penned by non-other than the ever insightful Maria Callas for the Italian periodical “OGGI”. In it she told about the day to day devotions and disciplines in the life of an opera singer, the rehearsals, the fatigue, the desire to please, the need to sing and the difficulty of a personal life.
All very arresting views behind the “sipario” and certainly wonderful to have as a glimpse of her thoughts by her own hand as she would leave no first person memoir.
Tebaldi also had a series replete with amazing insights into the very difficult life of a singer.
That was their version of a blog. Today on certain websites they are called “diaries”.
Whatever the title today’s world of music offers so little direct contact with fans, apart from the well-oiled-over spun newspaper stories that give even less chance to have a public know you.
To be a human Stradivarius isn’t easy. To be a “human being” with all it’s very real torments and joy is even more difficult. To serve opera, a world of passion and very passionate feelings. To know, no matter how great you are, the fantastical extremes of love and hate. You will never be universally loved by all.
When I was a child in school I kept scrap books filled to the brim with every imaginable story about opera and it’s exponents. This then is my scrapbook on the Internet. I will update it when I can. All and all, a place for all…..Most especially though it is a place for people who are as in love with opera as I am. People always want to make opera ordinary…..make it more realistic…..Blanche had the right idea in Tennessee Williams fabulous “Street Car Named Desire”,
“I don’t want reality……I want magic!”
Opera is that place of magic. It is for me. Enjoy!
Aprile Millo- BIOGRAPHY (traditional puffery)
Aprile Millo made a cinderella like debut at the Metropolitan Opera on Dec. 3, 1984 replacing an ailing colleague and caused literally a sensation. The papers next day heralded the birth of a “New Verdi Star!” and 23 years later Millo is still winning praise from objective critics and frenzied ovations from an adoring public. She has sung over 180 performances of 15 different roles at her artistic home- the Metropolitan Opera. Outside New York, Mme. Millo has triumphed in the theaters of Frankfurt, Barcelona, Parma, Rome, Bologna, Torino, the Arena of Verona, The Baths of Caracalla, San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Zurich, Paris, Orange, Moscow, Seville, Bilbao, Rio de Janero, Sao Paolo, Santiago, Colon – Buenos Aires and of course, La Scala, Milan. She has collaborated with such great conductors as Herbert von Karajan and Riccardo Muti at La Scala, her great friend and mentor, James Levine, and Giuseppe Sinopoli; she has sung in productions by the greatest stage directors, including “Liu” in TURANDOT, collaborating with legendary stage and film director, Franco Zeffirelli. She was also chosen by Maestro Zefferelli to be the voice of Elizabeth Taylor for the film, “Young Toscanini”. Recording with James Levine a critically acclaimed Verdi series for Sony Classical, Millo has AIDA, IL TROVATORE, LUISA MILLER and DON CARLO on disc and with DG has a highly acclaimed DVD/Video of “Un Ballo in Maschera” with Levine, the Metropolitan Opera and legendary tenor and great friend, Luciano Pavarotti as well as an EMMY Award winning broadcast DVD of “AIDA” with the Met, Levine and famed tenor and great colleague, Placido Domingo.The winner of numerous awards, Millo won the unanimous Primo Premio-First Prize at the Voci Verdiane Concorso in Busetto, Italy, the Montserrat Caballe-Bernabe’Merti Special Verdi Prize Francisco Vinas, The Voce D’Oro, The Richard Tucker Foundation Award, and the Maria Callas Foundation Award, to name a few. Millo is a rare throwback to another age of singing. A voice of quality and extention able to do Bel Canto and Verdi, as well as the demanding rigors of the Puccini and Verismo school. Committed to the “authentic” message and tradition Millo continues to win audiences over to the world of opera and keep the “faith” with all the long time fans.
- Repertoire and date of debut in role:
- Aida 1980
- Andrea Chenier 1985
- Adriana Lecouvreur 2002
- Cavalleria Rusticana 1981
- Don Carlo 1986
- Ernani 1982
- Il Trovatore 1988
- Il Pirata 1990
- Il Lombardi 1986
- Il Cantesimo 2007
- Il Tabarro 2014
- La Fanciulla del West 2004
- La Battaglia di Legnano 1987
- La Forza del Destino 1992
- La Gioconda 2004
- Le Villi 2005
- Luisa Miller 1988
- La Wally 1991
- Mefistofole 1992
- Otello 1987
- Simon Boccanegra 1984
- Tosca, 1997
- Turandot, 1988
- Un Ballo in Maschera 1991
- Verdi Requiem, 1986
- William Tell 1984
- Zaza’ 2005
- Coming soon: Norma, Macbeth, Medea, Manon Lescaut, Suor Angelica, Turandot