Today is the 107th anniversary of the greatest Verdi soprano I ever heard – Zinka Milanov (1906-1989). Milanov was the Queen of the Met where she sang 449 performances between 1937 and 1966. In the core Verdi roles I have never heard her equal. She was a unique artist.
The only words that can do her just are her own. Below are the last act arias sung by the Trovatore Leonora and then the Forza Leonora. Finally, there’s the bit from the first act of La Gioconda. Milanov would walk off the stage holding a pianissimo high B-flat that always caused a pandemonium of delight. I heard her do all three roles at the old Met. She was just as sublime then as she sounds on these recording. This is singing for the ages.