Milva in Pistoia 31-01-09 – photo by sailko (Source)

Maria Ilva Biolcati, OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [maˈriːa ˈilva bjolˈkaːti]; 17 July 1939 – 24 April 2021)[1], known as Milva [ˈmilva], was an Italian singer, stage and film actress, and television personality. She was also known as La Rossa (Italian for “The Redhead”), due to the characteristic colour of her hair, and additionally as La Pantera di Goro (“The Panther of Goro“), which stemmed from the Italian press having nicknamed the three most popular Italian female singers of the 1960s, combining the names of animals and the singers’ birth places. The color also characterized her leftist political beliefs, claimed in numerous statements.[2][3] Popular in Italy and abroad, she performed on musical and theatrical stages the world over, and received popular acclaim in her native Italy, and particularly in Germany, where she often participated in musical events and televised musical programmes. She also released numerous albums in France, Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain and South America.[4]

She collaborated with European composers and musicians such as Ennio Morricone in 1965, Francis Lai in 1973, Mikis Theodorakis in 1978 (Was ich denke became a best selling album in Germany), Enzo Jannacci in 1980, Vangelis in 1981 and 1986, Franco Battiato in 1982 and 1986.

Her stage productions of Bertolt Brecht’s recitals and Luciano Berio‘s operas toured the world’s theatres. She performed at La Scala in Milan, at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, at the Paris Opera, in the Royal Albert Hall in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, amongst others.[5]

Having received success both in Italy and internationally, she remained one of the most popular Italian personalities in the fields of music and theatre. Her artistic stature was officially recognised by the Italian, German and French republics, each of which bestowed her with the highest honours. She was the only Italian artist in contemporary times who was simultaneously: Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic (Paris, 11 September 2009), Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Rome, 2 June 2007), Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Berlin, 2006) and Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Paris, 1995). (Source)

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