Beloved Italian Songstress Was 81 – .

Italian singer, actress and television personality Milva died on Saturday at her home in Milan. The all-rounder was 81 years old.

Milva’s death was confirmed by the Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, who described her as “one of the strongest interpreters of Italian songs” and stated that “her voice has evoked intense emotions for generations”. No cause of death was given.

Milva was born Maria Ilva Biocalti on July 17, 1938 in Goro, Italy. In the 1960s and 1970s, Milva reached the height of her fame in Italy and also had a worldwide following. Known as “La Rossa” (or “The Redhead”) due to the color of her hair, she recorded 173 albums over the course of her life and ultimately sold around 80 million records, according to the LaPresse news agency.

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Milva has performed on stage both in and out of music and around the world. Between the 1960s and 1980s she worked with such prominent musicians as Ennio Morricone and Vangelis. She has appeared at La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera and the Royal Albert Hall in London, and has appeared as an actress in operas by Luciano Berio and in adaptations of plays by Bertolt Brecht. As an actress, Milva has also appeared in a number of films including Celluloide directed by Carlo Lizzani and television series such as Mai di Sabato Signora Lisistrata in 1996.

After five decades as a performer, Milva announced her retirement in 2010 and then lived with her daughter Martina Corgati.

Her importance to global culture is reflected in the titles awarded to her as the only contemporary Italian artist to serve as Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (OMRI) as well as Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic, Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

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