Milanov, Zinka (née Kunc)

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Milanov, Zinka (née Kunc)

Milanov, Zinka (née Kunc), famous Croatian-American soprano; b. Zagreb, May 17, 1906; d. N.Y., May 30, 1989. She studied at the Zagreb Academy of Music, then with Milka Ternina, Maria Kostrencic, and Fernando Carpi. She made her debut as Leonora in II Trovatore in Ljubljana (1927); subsequently was principal soprano of the Zagreb Opera (1928–35), where she sang in over 300 performances in Croatian. After appearing at Prague’s German Theater (1936), she was invited by Toscanini to sing in his performance of the Verdi Requiem at the Salzburg Festival (1937). She then made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Verdi’s Leonora on Dec. 17, 1937; was one of the outstanding members on its roster (1937–41; 1942–47; 1950–66); gave her farewell performance there as Maddalena in Andrea Chénier on April 13, 1966. In addition to appearing in San Francisco and Chicago, she also sang at Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colon (1940–42), Milan’s La Scala (1950), and London’s Covent Garden (1966–67). Her brother was Bożidar Kunc. She married Predrag Milanov in 1937, but they were divorced in 1946; she then married Ljubomir Ilic in 1947. Blessed with a voice of translucent beauty, she became celebrated for her outstanding performances of roles in operas by Verdi and Puccini.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Milanov, Zinka (née Kunc)

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