|Year of Birth:||1906|
|Year of Death:||1989|
Zinka Milanov (Croatian pronunciation: ; May 17, 1906 – May 30, 1989) was a Croatian-born operatic dramatic soprano who had a major career centered on the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. After finishing her education in Zagreb, Milanov made her debut in 1927 in Ljubljana as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore. From 1928 to 1936, she was the leading soprano of the Croatian National Theatre. In 1937, Milanov performed at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time, where she continued to sing until 1966. She also performed as a concert singer and was a noted vocal coach and teacher. Milanov is the sister of the composer and pianist Božidar Kunc.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia as Zinka Kunc (pronounced ), she studied with the Wagnerian soprano Milka Ternina and her assistant Marija Kostrenčić. She also studied in Milan with Carpi and in Berlin with Stückgolt. On October 29, 1927, she made her operatic debut as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at age 21. Her debut in her native Croatia, at the National Theatre in Zagreb, took place five weeks later as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust.
After an early debut in Dresden (November 5, 1928, also as Leonora), her teacher, Ternina, was not pleased and much work commenced to perfect her technique. She performed in Zagreb and Ljubljana almost exclusively for the next six years. Later she became a member of the New German Theatre in Prague, where all performances were sung in German. She was discovered there by Bruno Walter, who recommended her to Arturo Toscanini for a performance of Verdi's Requiem in Salzburg.