PLAYBILL ARTS Interviews Grand Diva Aprile Millo on the cusp of her 25th Anniversary.

Aprile Millo celebrates 25 years tomorrow night at Frederick P. Rose Recital Hall, 8pm.


Click here to read the interview.  PLAYBILL ARTS INTERVIEW

A fascinating conversation with Aprile Millo.


Aprile Millo, Soprano

Lucy Arner, Pianist


Merynda Adams, harp

Christopher Collins Lee, violin

Michael Fabiano, tenor

Lynn Harrell, cello

Luis Ledesma, baritone

Danielle Orlando, piano

Mary-Lou Vetere, accordion

Iveta & Gherman dancers

Russ & Katusha, dancers

Cabaret Does Opera: Grand Diva Aprile Millo at Rose Hall by Steve Weinstein EDGE Editor-In-Chief Saturday Nov 14, 2009

This great article appeared in “EDGE” Magazine.  Couldn’t be more truthful about the importance of this singer and her place in the world of the arts.

Millo heart

When Barbra Streisand recently performed at the Village Vanguard, it set off a feeding frenzy among the public and the media. To have an artist of that stature, who seldom performs, at such an intimate space was truly historic.

Well, now opera fans will have their own comparable performance when soprano Aprile Millo joins her longtime collaborator Eve Queler and the Opera Orchestra of New York at the Frederick P. Rose Hall inside the Time Warner Center. This beautiful room, officially the jazz venue for nearby Lincoln Center, normally reverberates with very different sounds.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, however, it will host one of the most beloved, respected and honored sopranos of our age. The fact that La Milllo will be heard in a comfy setting amidst the occasional clattering of drink glasses or food plates shouldn’t faze fans (or the singer) a bit. In fact, I’ll stick my neck out here, and say that this is the kind of place where a voice like Millo’s can be best appreciated.

Sure, she’s got a full sound that has made her one of the principal interpreters of Verdi heroines (as well as Puccini and the other great verismo and also the bel canto composers). But the silky texture of her smoother phrasing, her gorgeous tones, her precise intonation and her breath control will be up close and personal, instead of on a grand opera stage. For those of us who love true opera singing, this is an opportunity not to be missed. New York native Millo has sung title roles in every major house in the world, including La Scala, where she is worshipped. She won both the Richard Tucker and Maria Callas awards–akin to a writer winning a Pulitzer and National Book Award.

Of late, she hasn’t been as active because of family health issues, which makes this concert all the more thrilling. In an interview, Millo joked about playing in a cabaret room. Long outspoken about so-called crossover artists (one of the things that opera fans love about Millo is her accessibility and the way she communicates via her popular personal blog), Millo joked about “screaming about not doing crossover, and her I am doing a ’gig.’” This “gig” is actually a homecoming of sorts. Millo gave her first performance with Opera Orchestra 25 years ago. She has been a big supporter of the tenacious Queler’s attempts to bring little-known works the public. She is equally outspoken about what she sees as a tacit conspiracy among the city’s opera establishment–including Big Media–not to promote such a worthy undertaking. “That it’s ignored by the New York Times amazes me,” she said. “All these little organizations are desperately in need of publicity. There just aren’t as many outlets for young singers in the city. Streisand, Midler: Where would they perform today? There’s no place to hone your talent in front of the public.”

A performer who has forged a unique bond with her fans (known as a “claque” in Operaspeak), Millo readily acknowledged that they are as demanding as she is: “When people sing with me, they’d better be good, because these are the true opera fans. They don’t want robotic singers.” She noted ruefully that the emphasis on the camera (even the Met is broadcasting on giant screens) has put pressure on singers to look good. “The camera is a very important exponent” of opera, she said. “I’m the same age as Renee Fleming, but she looks a lot better.” (Actually, Millo is a beautiful woman who bears a strong resemblance to another singer, early ’60s teen idol Annette Funicello; but we won’t argue the point.) But she added, “I don’t even try to be part of the newer school.” Forget the celebrity couple, the touring “divos,” the barihunks. Millo is strictly Old School, which is exactly the way her fans like it. “Every age gets what it asks for,” she noted. “We’re celebrity crazed, everbody’s got to look good.

Opera singers weren’t necessarily beautiful. In this age, unfortunately, we’re bombarded by images.” Millo’s uncompromising vision of what real opera should be has put her in conflict with some general managers. She readily admitted that she has turned down roles in productions where the director’s reinterpretation was ridiculous. She cited one (blessedly unnamed) Otello in which she was expected to sing while Iago was masturbating. You can’t make this stuff up! Millo does have some projects in the pipeline. She is remaining mum for now, but check her blog.

In the meantime, those who wish to hear true beautiful singing, should rush to the Rose, where she’ll be joined by tenor Michael Fabiano and baritone Luis Ledesma. And lest you think Millo is stuck in some mythical Golden Age, note that the program also promises “special choreography by Melanie LaPatin from So You Think You can Dance.” Take that, purists! The recital will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Rose Hall, inside the Broadway and West 60th Street entrance of the Time-Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Tickets (if available) are being sold by Opera Orchestra.

Call 212.906-9137 or the company’s website. EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of “The Q Guide to Fire Island” (Alyson, 2007).

Aprile Millo Celebrates 25 Years with the Opera Orchestra of New York

DON’T MISS this exceptional and historical evening.  To purchase tickets click the link below

MilloLa Profonda:  Aprile Millo

The grand diva with the golden voice is giving her 25th anniversary recital with the Opera Orchestra of New York, on November 17th, 2009 at 8pm at the Frederick P. Rose Recital Hall in the home of Jazz at Lincoln Centre.  This recital proves to be a magical, historic, and elegant evening, with a few surprises and Ms. Millo’s absolute devotion to her art, which to her represents a sacred vocation.  The first time I personally heard Ms. Millo, she was portraying Verdi’s Aida.  It was a voice I have never ever forgotten and one to which I have always felt a particular affinity.  This is a voice that comes along once in a lifetime.  Her golden voice is made up of the best attributes of her predecessors, Claudia Muzio, Rosa Ponselle, and Renata Tebaldi, and her technique is one that is firmly cemented in pure and unadulterated Bel Canto lyricism.  Combine this with Ms. Millo’s devotion to her art and the combination is almost too emotional for human consumption.  In a phrase, she is a living, breathing, musical vessel, one that anyone who loves opera, voices, or music should experience.  She is a true artist in the most fundamental sense of the word and her voice is a gift to us all.  There is no question that we are lucky to have her in our midst, as we were lucky to have Mr. Pavarotti, and all of the other greats who contributed so profoundly to this art.

On a personal note, I have never had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Millo in live performance, and so this first time I’m hearing her is also the first time I’m performing with her at a public venue, as such.  I am graciously honoured and humbled to be a guest artist on this important event.  With all of the respect I have for this artist, personally and professionally, there are no words to express how excited I am to be experiencing this.  I hope you’ll come and experience it with me.

Aprile Millo was a wunderkind.  She possessed this voice of almost unnatural beauty since she could walk.  When she sings, the room, the hall, vibrates with an energy that you can only understand if you have been enveloped by this voice.  It is one of those great voices that will go down in the history books for the rest of eternity.  One of the most accurate and definitive Italian voices ever, with an ability to sing recitativo like no one else, with a sense of punto di linea that I think some of us have forgotten is “inherent” in this music, and it lives in one of the kindest and most generous of individuals. Ms. Millo has won accolades the world over.  Please join me in this magnificent evening, celebrating one of the greatest artists this world has ever known.  My hat goes off to you, Signora.  The greats who are no longer with us will all be there celebrating with you.  From my heart to yours, auguri!

Purchase tickets HERE.

Aprile as Aida

Millo’s vocal beauty and technical prowess were unparalleled in Verdi’s “Aida”