Maria Ilva Biolcati, OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [maˈriːa ˈilva bjolˈkaːti]; born 17 July 1939), known as Milva [ˈmilva], is an Italian singer, stage and film actress, and television personality. She is 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 stems 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 characterizes her leftist political beliefs, claimed in numerous statements. Popular in Italy and abroad, she has performed on musical and theatrical stages the world over, and has received popular acclaim in her native Italy, and particularly in Germany where she has often participated in musical events and televised musical programmes. She has also released numerous albums in France, Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain and South America.She has 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 have toured the world’s theatres. She has 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.Having received success both in Italy and internationally, she remains to this day one of the most popular Italian personalities in the fields of music and theatre. Her artistic stature has been officially recognised by the Italian, German and French republics, each of which have bestowed her with the highest honours. She is the only Italian artist in contemporary times, in fact, who is 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).