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Zinka Milanov
Birth: Aug. 8, 1906
Zagreb
City of Zagreb (Grad Zagreb), Croatia
Death: May 30, 1989
Manhattan
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Opera Singer. A premiere dramatic soprano of the mid 20th Century, she is remembered for interpreting the heavier works of Giuseppe Verdi. Born Zinka Kunc, she was raised in what was then Yugoslavia, took to music early, and was trained by legendary Wagnerian soprano Milka Ternina. Zinka made her professional debut at Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1927 as Leonora from Verdi's "Il Trovatore"; a few weeks later she sang in Zagreb as Marguerite from Gounod's "Faust" but after Milka was not pleased with her 1928 performances at Dresden she spent the next several years refining her art in the smaller theatres of Zagreb and Ljubljana. Eventually working her way to more significant cities such as Prague and Berlin, she was heard at the 1937 Salzburg Festival in the Verdi "Requiem" under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. Zinka was signed by Metropolitan Opera general manager Edward Johnson who badly needed a successor to the recently retired Rosa Ponselle but who stipulated that she learn her roles in Italian (she had previously sung in German and Croatian) and that she lose 25 pounds; as she prepared to come to America Zinka on her own changed her name to Milanov, the stage name of the second of her multiple husbands. She made her bow at the Metropolitan on December 17, 1937, as Leonora from "Il Trovatore" to mixed reviews, but within a short time had established herself as the star she was to be for the next almost 30 years. During her time at the Metropolitan Zinka was praised as the title leads of Vincenzo Bellini's "Norma", Ponchielli's "La Gioconda", and Puccini's "Tosca" but was best known for her Verdi roles which included both Leonoras ("Il Trovatore" and "La Forza del Destino"), the title heroine of "Aida", both Amelias ("Un Ballo in Maschera" and "Simon Boccanegra") and the tragic Desdemona from "Otello". A 'prima donna' in the full sense of the term, Zinka had some problems with the critics who praised her singing but who said she was a poor actress, an assessment with which she did not disagree and about which she really did not care. Further, the same critics complained about her weight then said that she could not sing as well after her frequent diets. Zinka left New York for Eastern Europe in 1947, made her La Scala Milano bow in 1950 as Tosca, then returned to the Metropolitan in 1951 with her voice in better shape than ever. The next five years saw her vocal prime but she was to gradually slow down after the mid 1950s; retiring after singing on the last night of the old Metropolitan Opera House in 1966 she remained in New York City and was a distinguished voice teacher. She died of a stroke complicated by excessive weight. Much of her recorded legacy, mostly preserved during her best years in the early 1950s, is available on CD. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Mirogoj Cemetery
Zagreb
City of Zagreb (Grad Zagreb), Croatia
Plot: Kunc family plot
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 18, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6099402
Zinka Milanov
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Zinka Milanov
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Jelena
 
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- Bob Hufford
 Added: May. 30, 2013

- BigLebo
 Added: Dec. 7, 2012
Birthday Greetings, thank you for all of the wonderful talent you gave the world. You are truly missed! Bright Blessings, William
- william bondar
 Added: Aug. 8, 2011
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