The Quantification of the Diva: Upon Reflection

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who are the greatest divas (Classic and Contemporary) of them all?”

And the mirror replied, “I’ll tell you right after the jump!”

What a week it’s been, cher public, and La Cieca (speaking on behalf of herself and Jay Caspian Kang) only hopes you’ve been enlightened by our little étude as much as we have found pleasure in bringing a little joy into your humdrum lives.

The scores have been tallied, and all that is left is to view the bubble graphs.

CD BUBBLE GRAPHSCONTEMP DIVA BUBBLE

So, now that everything is settled, La Cieca is ready to entertain questions or to…. what’s that? You say the bubble graphs are less than clear in delineating a winner or winners? Oh, well, you’re right, of course, but aren’t all those colorful little bubbles lovely? How they remind La Cieca of the poster for the 1971 revival of No, No, Nanette!
no_no

Dear Loni Zoe Ackerman—whatever is she doing with herself these days? ….Oh, yes, of course: the diva rankings!

CLASSIC DIVAS

RANKDIVASCORE
1Leontyne Price830
(tie) 2Montserrat Caballé825
(tie) 2Renata Scotto825
4Leonie Rysanek820
5Jessye Norman800
6Régine Crespin770
7Tatiana Troyanos725
8Joan Sutherland710
9Christa Ludwig640
10Marilyn Horne580
11Hildegard Behrens520
12Mirella Freni495

CONTEMPORARY DIVAS

RANKDIVASCORE
1Edita Gruberova725
2Angela Gheorghiu705
3Anna Netrebko690
4Karita Mattila680
5Renée Fleming675
6Cecilia Bartoli605
7Waltraud Meier590
8Dolora Zajick530
9Joyce DiDonato520
10Natalie Dessay480

So, what have we learned, cher public?

Well, to begin with: it’s easier to be an older diva than a younger diva. Age adds to the “legendary” quality.

Retirement from the hurly-burly of the operatic stage perhaps adds a luster of soft focus to a diva, glossing over flaws that may have been more apparent when witnessed in real time.

Emotional Journey counts for a lot. Kunst and Stimm are about equally important, but you’d better have a lot of one or the other, or you’re no diva.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t be stingy with the Scandale!

La Cieca now invites the cher public to discuss the rankings, about which she is sure you will all be in complete agreement.

(Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Jay Caspian Kang, who has delighted us so often at Free Darko, also may be heard tweeting at maxpower51.