“No Make-Up!”… Aprile Millo

Soprano Aprile Millo was born in New York from a family of Italian descent. Both her parents, who were appreciated opera singers (tenor and soprano), were her vocal coaches.  After winning the Busseto competition for Verdi voices and debuting in the title role of Aida at Utah Opera in Salt Lake City, she started an international career that brought her to sing in major opera houses because of her consistent  and extensive lyric soprano  voice with its particulary fine timbre, plus an outstanding personality in performance, that built her reputation as one of the finest Verdi singers of the twentieth century.
Which is the main feature of your personality?
Optimism and I love people.
Your worst flaw?

Too many to count.
Which is your star sign?

Are you superstitious?

Are you a spiritual person?


Have you ever envied someone?
Of course.
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?

Exactly what I am. I wanted to be an opera singer, and to serve God with my voice.
Did your family influence your choices?

Yes, both parents had golden voices; Momma soprano come Muzio. And my father was a tenor who reminded me of a Caruso‐type voice. You can find him on Youtube.com singing Canio from Pagliacci and lieder of Brahms. I miss their excellence and them everyday.
Which is your most cherished memory?

I am a person who cherishes people and friends, deeply. The cherished moments for me are memories of loved ones, good times with family and friends and pets. I am a little like the Maximus in the Gladiator film, or like Cio Cio San, I keep figures of my “ancestors” with me and of my family who have crossed over.
The moment you felt the proudest?

Conquering fear and allowing myself to do all that I can. We singers are an instrument, like a violin, but we are not vibrating wood, we are flesh and bone and full of emotion and joy and fear, and health and sickness. It is a miracle that we are able to sing, in front of a glorious chorus, especiallythose in Italy, and before an audience of 4000 or 16,000 people over an orchestra of 80 pieces all without a microphone!!! Opera and singing opera is the last bastion of human communication without a plug!
The greatest disappointment?

When people do not realize how great art is, how great music is, how great THEY are! A world with just sports and no real art or beauty or poetry or dance and music is a dark age. “The money‐changers are in the temple” again. Italy has given the world so much and it deserves to know how the world is grateful to her for so many masterpieces of great beauty in so many areas of life she has given us. I pray every day for those that must make these difficult decisions, especially where money is concerned, which is like a fog over any lofty thought… I pray they protect what is uniquely theirs and pay no attention to the temporary parasites that try to cloud their vision for their own profit. Life is short, Art is long.
What’s missing in your life today?

I am grateful for the whole journey, God has given me so much. But truly missing? My Mom and Dad and all my family and friends that aren’t as easy to hear anymore, but I can feel them.
What are you afraid of the most?

Being afraid.
Do you have a recurrent dream?

Yes, some good some bad. All very vivid, and I am still trying to figure them out.
How important is money to you?

I want the peace it gives to know you can help others. Have enough to be safe, and enough to keep your friends and family safe. I would love to have the wealth of a Microsoft Bill Gates, or Carlos Slim. I would so invest it in the elderly, they are deserving of better than they get in a youth obsessed world; in giving everyone the access to medicine always if you need it. Money for the poor and those dying for lack of medicine all over the world. Money for education, protecting the innocent, the children in the world, and protection of the animals. Last but not least money to help those who worked years and may have no pensions, and money most surely for music and to protect Opera.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?

If I must for myself, it would be buying the newest computers, or something lovely and unique. I love jewelry.
Do you collect anything?

Leather books, diaries, elegant travel antique bags, amazing stamps, and gorgeous picture frames.
Which are your favorite readings?

Biographies, poetry and philosophy, and books explaining how things are done. Old magazines from the early 1900’s.
Which is your favorite perfume?

Trussardi and Paris. For me, when I am not singing as it is dangerous for the breathing, I love Musk.
Favorite city?

So many. But, if I had to name one‐ New York, Rome, Vienna. I also really loved Moscow and Barcelona.
Favorite color?

Green, dark green. Or anything art deco in inspiration and detail.
Favorite flower?

The Rose, red preferably, and Girasole. Unforgettable for me.
Your favourite singers?

This could go on for pages! Claudia Muzio, Rosa Ponselle, Renata Tebaldi, Magda Olivero, Zinka Milanov, Maria Caniglia, and Maria Callas, Flagstad and Sutherland. My Mom and Dad, De Stefano, Del Monaco, Corelli, Gigli, Caruso, Schipa, Pavarotti,Bergonzi and Tucker.… Bastianini, Ruffo, Apolo Granforte, Ebe Stignani, Simoniato, Cesare Siepi, Bonaldo Giaotti, Favero, the list goes on and on.
Which is the first record you ever bought?

Aida with Tebaldi, Il Trovatore with Callas, and a mix of great duets and ensembles of opera with great singers. Strangely enough though, every morning before I went to school I would listen to the Emperor Concerto by Beethoven with Rubinstein. Started my day off quite well.
The film you love the most?

Gone With the Wind and The Sound of Music and Zeffirelli’s beautiful Romeo and Juliet.
Your favorite season and why?

Doesn’t matter, as long as I am cool enough. LOVE Winter and Fall.
How is your relationship with technology and which is the electronic gadget you can’t do without?

The phone and radio or TV. This is not a world to be out of touch in, too much happens too quickly and sometimes it is dangerous not to know.
How’s your attitude towards TV ?

With caution about how it is used to manipulate, I still love to watch and hear about people. It can be a great tool to educate and entertain people.
How is your relationship with politics?

I fight for the little guy, so whoever fights for them has my hope.
Do you have causes that are very important for you?

The elderly getting help and respect. Stamping out abuse women, and really of anyone or any animal; ending bigotry in any form. Letting people live their own lives to the fullest.
Day or night?

Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?

Anywhere I can hear rain falling or hear the ocean.
Tell us your ideal day.

I love the vigil leading to a performance. The concentration to create, to excite and give emotion. The rush of doing it, feeling the great mass of humanity in front of you breathing with many eyes and hearts, eventually joined as one all in the embrace of the music. Then the finish and the sense of accomplishment and honor. We bring to life, we speak for those great minds who are no longer with us except in the pages of the manuscript, or the orchestral score is the blueprint of a soul….and we bring them to life in time and century they never lived to see. Performing it for people who may never have seen it. That is a day to remember. Being able to and then doing the very great gift of singing .
Which is your hideaway?

Sleep. Perchance to dream!
What’s the soundtrack to your everyday life?

Depends. Sometimes Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, Boito, and other times it is Wagner, Schubert, Schumann, Mahler or Beethoven. Can be other times when it is Michael Jackson, or Rolling Stones, Nirvana or my brother’s group the MauMaus, he is a pioneer of the true punk rock music. My sister writes as well, haunting and great music. Varies a lot, just like life.
What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?

Home. For someone who has traveled all over the world many times over, I miss home. A feeling of being home.
The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?

I would like to see St. Petersberg, Russia. Or when it is ever safer, The Holy Land. From whence came three immensely powerful and deep religions. The people all over the Middle East are amazing people, I would like to know them and experience this sacred area.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?

People who hate or speak without thought. I am embarrassed for them. For me, it is when I am not prepared. Very rare, but it does happen.
How would you define your relation with food ?

I love it. How marvellous and creative people are with the various foods available to them, so wonderful. I must love it a little less these days. The world of opera wants Stradivarius’ but in the body of a ukelele. So, I must adapt and continue.
Mediterranean diet, microbiotics or fast food?

Moderation diet….. the most difficult one!
Your favourite dish?

Pasta. With any topping… but usually with Parmigiano and oil. Before I love prociutto with a little mozzarella and tomato.. too good!
Red or white wine?

Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?

Fast food.
Was music a vocation?

Still is.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?

My recording of Trovatore, or Luisa Miller. Youtube has a performance of Otello, where I am so pleased how gorgeous the orchestra, and how very quiet the audience. The Ave Maria that night, was one of the best I ever did. The last act of the DVD Aida/ from Triste Canto…. I went to paradise that night.
If you were granted the chance to choose a role, which one would it be?

One I have not sung would be what Von Karajan asked me to look at, Elsa. And I would be honored and thrilled to Bellini’s Norma.
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?

Pray, vocalize, and salute the stage to feel if the “spirits” are there. They usually are if you sing for the right reasons. Every theater has a feeling of those who have sung in it. The greats. Hemingway describes it for the bullfighter, the audience waits to see if he has the “duende”. The connection to something old and mythical, noble and authentic.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?

The score I am singing! And pictures of my family and favorite voices. Our Lady of Fatima, and the Infant of Prague.
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?

If I am singing, it isn’t me I see, it is the person I am singing. If it is for vanity sake, I am not looking.!!!!
Your mood at the moment?

Hopeful, eager and grateful.
What’s your motto?

What I a hope Saint Peter will say if I make it to Heaven. “They are all here…..”