Avant le deluge

La Cieca is no big believer in omens, but she must say that within a hour of Aprile Millo‘s final curtain call on the Met stage Saturday night, all hell broke loose over New York. Not exactly “stars with trains of fire and dews of blood/Disasters in the sun” but certainly a messy and unseasonable Nor’easter. Time will tell whether this downpour foretells the end of an era. Meanwhile, La Cieca will do her job and report that among La Millo’s public she glimpsed Elaine Stritch, Rufus Wainwright and Patti Smith, all of whom made the pilgrimage backstage to meet and greet the diva. Also in evidence were Violeta Urmana and Salvatore Licitra, plus of course every opera queen you might care to mention. A few fans attempted to serenade Millo with “Happy Birthday” during her solo bow, but were inaudible over the applause and cheers.

Curiously, the great moment in Millo’s performance wasn’t “La mamma morta,” (which was very good if a little hectic) but rather the phrase “Benedico il destino! Benedico la morte!” just before the final duet. If you need a definition of what Milanov called “vocal message,” that’s what Millo demonstrated in this handful of notes. And need I say she communicated more in those few seconds than many other artists do in a whole season.

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