...I write to confirm the comment Zinka made about the b-flat. She made it on a public radio program called "The Vocal Scene" during an interview with the host, George Jellinek. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing in disbelief. I figured that I had heard this incorrectly. A few years later, they reran that episode and, sure enough, that's what she said.
However, my favorite Zinka moment was the one I had the privilege to witness. In the mid 80s, Queler and OONY did a Gioconda with Ghena Dimitrova. Although she later sang some decent performances at the MET, this performance was definitely NOT one of her triumphs. After the performance, where she had been booed a bit, I noticed Zinka standing on 7th Ave. just below 57th St......waiting for her ride? As was her way, she stood larger than life, in a white coat, signing autographs. As I got mine, one of the "faithful" said to her, "Ooh, Mme. Milanov......no one could EVER forget YOUR Gioconda!!" She seemed to grow another few inches as she steeled herself and smilingly replied, "ESPECIALLY after tonight!!!"
*I sort of hate this "Reader Flying Diva" business because it seems condescending..."Enthralled follower of my glorious pen," etc., but I can't very well say "Faithful correspondent" since I had never heard from Mr. or Ms. Diva before.
Mad as I am for Dimitrova, I couldn't resist passing along a delightful story.
Another Obituary of Sorts
Reader, I mean correspondent, I mean person-who-is-reading, I hope you have been appraised of the closing of Tower Records if you live in the New York City area. More to the point I hope you have been appraised of it but aren't going to go snap up the things I want. I have an odd history with Tower--just after college, I actually worked there, for minimum wage, for a little while. Nasty people to work for. But I also used to go there every trip to New York before I moved there, knowing I'd find things I couldn't get at home. Maybe I could have ordered them online but there's something about having it all arrayed before you that can only dredge up the awful cliche of a Kid in a Candy Store.
Blah blah, vaseline the lens, insert fond memories of rushing to tower after a late performance, crazy things I found there, I'm being dismissive because in point of fact when I walked into the one on lower Broadway and saw the "Going out of Business" signs, I felt (cross my heart and kiss my elbow) like crying. It's hard to explain. I think the key fact is that until now when I went in there, because I'm not a bazillionaire, I'd look at forty things and say, "I'll maybe get it later" and then walk out with some laserlight crap "Mado Robin sings Disney" bullshit that fits my budget better. And then, if you'll excuse the materialism, I'd dream of the ridiculously priced Keilberth Siegfried I left behind until one day I found it on sale for whatever one third of ridiculous is and decide to sacrifice the cat's college money. Now there is no later. I imagine there are recordings I simply won't find again.
I have no idea what I'm going on about. It feels a little like that dire prediction of many years about the classical record biz going belly up on us is a little bit coming true. itunes is still hideously understocked for opera, and besides, itunes is becoming creepily proprietary and universal in a troubling Googlean way. Listen, I'm going back to 33's, if not 78's. It has been pointed out to me by One Who Knows that of all musical recording media, the oldest ones hold up best if you look at it one way--78's sound exactly as they did in 1945, whereas CD's I bought last week won't play. So I'm throwing the battle, as far as technology goes. If you need me, I'll be in the corner with my Brunswick suitcase model.
Oh p.s. I got my Dalibor. It was the last copy. Sorry!