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Sherrill Milnes

Biography

Born: January 10, 1935; USA  
The Verdi baritone is almost a vocal type in and of itself. These roles require outstanding breath control as well as the ability not only to sing strong high notes, but to sing for extended periods in the upper part of the baritone range. Milnes had both of these, and for a while even considered a career as a Wagner tenor rather than a baritone. His timbre was not to all tastes, but his vocal gifts, musicality, and powerful stage presence made Read more him the leading baritone at the Met, where most of his career was focused.
He came from a musical family, and his mother was his first teacher. As often happens in such families, he learned to play not only the piano, but many other instruments, both in the string and the brass families. He studied at Drake and at Northwestern University, anticipating a career as a music teacher rather than as a performer, and sang in the Chicago Symphony Chorus under the legendary Margaret Hiller, also playing bass in a jazz band on the side. He also studied for a period with famed soprano Rosa Ponselle, and was an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera, known for launching new artists as well as works. In 1960, he successfully auditioned for the Boris Goldovsky Opera Company, one of the most renowned touring companies in the United States, and made his opera debut with them as Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni. He remained with them for five years, singing many of the major Verdi baritone roles, as well as graduating to the title role of Don Giovanni, and also appearing at other opera houses such as the Baltimore Opera in 1961. In 1964, he appeared at the New York City Opera as Valentin in Faust, and made his Italian debut at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan. The next year he gave his first performance at the Met as Valentin, opposite Montserrat Caballe in her Met debut role. In 1967, he created the role of Adam Brant in Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra. His Vienna State Opera debut in 1970, in the title role of Verdi's Macbeth, brought him to international fame. He made his Chicago debut in 1971 as Posa in Verdi's Don Carlo as well as his Covent Garden debut as Renato in Un ballo in maschera.
During the 1980s, he underwent a vocal crisis, and made relatively few operatic appearances afterwards (having more or less reached retirement age) though he remained active as an oratorio singer and recitalist, as well as a conductor.
His Iago on the recording of Otello with James Levine (BMG GD 82951) verges on being over the top, but is nonetheless one of the most vivid recordings of that role. A recital CD on Decca (443 929) of materials largely from early in his career shows off his fine top notes as well as strong technical facility. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 184 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002232209 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Rachmaninov: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002145102 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  André Previn,  Peter Jablonski,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Stanislaw Wislocki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldner String Quartet,  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 5.
    Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1 - The First Decade
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002051802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Josephine Veasey,  Cornelius Opthof  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 6.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Allan Glassman,  Paul Plishka,  David [Tenor Vocal] Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Giuseppe Patané,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372279 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Bruce Brewer,  Edith Mathis,  Hans Sotin  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  James Levine,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Pavarotti Sings Verdi [3-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001853602 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Riccardo Cassinelli,  Leo Nucci,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Georg Solti,  Richard Bonynge,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $39.98
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  • 9.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 10.
    Magic Verdi
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 282712 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Martina Arroyo,  Piero Cappuccilli  ... 
    Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede,  Anton Guadagno  ... 
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  • 11.
    Ponchielli: La Gioconda / Bartoletti, Caballe, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820902 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Sherrill Milnes,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finchley Children's Music Group,  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 12.
    Verdi: Attila / Gardelli, Raimondi, Bergonzi, Milnes
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001822602 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ruggero Raimondi,  Sherrill Milnes,  Riccardo Cassinelli,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Finchley Children's Music Group
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  • 13.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $236.99
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  • 14.
    Verdi: Opera Highlights
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 167332 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Alfredo Kraus,  Renata Scotto,  Beverly Sills,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Julius Rudel,  Herbert von Karajan,  Lamberto Gardelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 15.
    Verdi: The Great Operas [35-CDs]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 167452 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anne Edwards,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Tullio Serafin,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 16.
    Forever Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001784502 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Peeters,  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 17.
    Verdi: Macbeth / Muti, Milnes, Cossotto, Carreras
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 19270 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
    CD: $24.99
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  • 18.
    Domingo Conducts Milnes! Milnes Conducts Domingo!
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195828 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Doreen Price,  Sarah Walker,  Jean Temperley,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes
    CD: $6.99
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  • 19.
    Great Opera Duets
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 195437 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo
    Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
    CD: $6.99
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  • 20.
    Opera Arias
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707702 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Fausto Cleva,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 21.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 22.
    Best Of Plácido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317022 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Simon Estes,  Sherrill Milnes,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 23.
    Verdi: Luisa Miller / Schippers, Caballe, Tucker, Milnes, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 190994 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giorgio Tozzi,  Nancy Williams,  Sherrill Milnes,  Ezio Flagello  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Bonynge, Sutherland, Milnes, Ghiaurov
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001616002 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Ryland Davies,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Puccini: Tosca / Rescigno, Freni, Pavarotti, Milnes, National Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001615202 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Sherrill Milnes,  Richard Van Allan  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir
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