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  • Camille: I, too, have always wondered what ‘might have been’ had Mr Gentele not died so unexpectedly and so young. It was... 11:30 PM
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Who was that Lady?

Much guesswork, most of it terribly astute, went into our most recent vocal ID quiz, and La Cieca is now ready to reveal the most accurate of a very accurate bunch.

Our sharpest-eared Lady listener is sl, who zeroed in on 14 of the 18 sections, and therefore will the coveted Gift Card.

The complete and correct list of Ladies is as follows:

  1. Maria Callas
  2. Marisa Galvany
  3. Tiziana Fabbricini
  4. Cristina Deutekom
  5. Deborah Voigt
  6. Anja Silja
  7. Pauline Tinsley
  8. Adelaide Negri
  9. Dolora Zajick
  10. Galina Vishnevskaya
  11. Christa Ludwig
  12. Ghena Dimitrova
  13. Elena Souliotis
  14. Liudmyla Monastyrska
  15. Renata Scotto
  16. Jennifer Larmore
  17. Mara Zampieri
  18. Elizabeth Connell

And, believe it or not, DeCaffarrelli did not throw in this ringer.


  • 1
    MontyNostry says:

    Well, I didn’t get many of them right, but I did get Deutekom (even without wacky coloratura).

    • 1.1
      Camille says:

      You also said something about Liz Connell (bless her and may she rest in peace), that slightly consoles me for my lack of perceptual acuity in the instance of her rather remarkable ending to the Lady Mac cabaletta, i.e., she sings the whole damn enchilada, whilst others stagger, lurch, heave, cut and crawl their way to that FINISH, but there is somehow a lack of a distinctive and/or personal gleam to the voice here.

      Oh, [me] vergogna!

      • 1.1.1
        La marquise de Merteuil says:

        Camille/CF -- I have to say that as much as I admire La Connell there is indeed something very Generic McPlainwrap about her voice/singing. All the notes are there but often they weren’t due to serious health reasons.

        But when it comes to Lohengrin I love my Ortrud with a a side of crazy:



          Camille says:

          “Generic McPlainwrap?”

          Wish that I’d have thunk that one up!

          Marchesa, you linger too long in the 18th c., I fear, and are seldom here in the 21st cyberspace. You are missed. Please come around more offen!

          • La marquise de Merteuil says:

            Ma Chere Camille, I wish I could take credit for that witty phrase but I’m afraid the credit belongs to one of the writers of Will and Grace -- I forget which episode but it is one of Jack’s lines referring to one of Will’s bfs. Indeed, I’ve been particularly head down the last few weeks deep into the settecento pouring over some very interesting projects. But rest assured that I check in often enough and always enjoy reading your clever posts!!! The one about you throwing your knitting needles down was especially funny!!!! BTW it would be nice to be in contact with you if you will. My cyber address is qf1_1 -- a t -- yahoo dot com if you fancy a giggle and a squeak in private. On a completely different note I have been haunted completely by Suor Angelica. Have been listening to the opera 2-3 or more times a day. Also be hectically youtubing it. Scotto, Kaibanvanska, Soviero (only one to sing lo rivedro, AH in one breath!), Malfitano, Nizza, and Gauci -- for some reason I love the staid Frittoli version the most -- I’ll have to get the DVD. All of them well … there is something very affecting of this creature driven to end her life.

          • La marquise de Merteuil says:

            ps: but in Will and Grace: the line is Generic McFlamewrap I think…

      • 1.1.2
        peter says:

        I heard Connell sing Elektra in San Francisco several years ago and she was horribly miscast. Dull and over-parted vocally and very weak dramatically. At the time, I thought Chrysothemis would have been a better fit, at least for her voice.

          Camille says:

          She was also a very striking Iphigénie, in the Tauride version, at Teatro dell’Opera, which role proved very congenial to her, as a former mezzosoprano.

          Just a few days ago I found a program with her singing the Immolation Scene along with Barenboim and band, in Carnegie Hall. And her fierce Isolde with OONY at Carnegie, sung under duress, with a bad fever. Perhaps her best years were in the eighties, I know not.

          Whatever the case, she seemed to me to be a worthy artist and an even worthier human being. She certainly saved the day in Rome with her then very exciting Lady M, back in the day. The last video of her singing “When I have sung my songs for you” is heartbreaking.

      • 1.1.3
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Connell was a very sweet lady and hugely supportive of young singers, even sitting through a performance of Rheingold in which your own Cocky was performing. It was a pleasure to be thoroughly upstaged by our audience, on that occasion.

        Sadly I only heard her once in the theatre, as the mother in Hansel and Gretel a couple of years ago. She took over some Turandots while in London at the same time, stepping in for somebody or other, and received very positive write ups for them in the press.

  • 2
    Feldmarschallin says:

    congratulations. In Münchner Merkur there is some talk of things they are doing in Salzburg next summer. Don Carlos, Trovatore and Nabucco concertant. Cosi will open the Festspiele and Domingo will be singing Luna.

    • 2.1
      oedipe says:

      Let me guess: Domingo will be singing Luna, Nabucco AND Le Grand Inquisiteur.

      • 2.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        … and maybe, in falsetto, la voce dal cielo. Oh yes, and all the Flemish deputies.

          Regina delle fate says:

          Haha! Monty. One of the deputies, or a transposed Count Lerma! He hasn’t got the low notes for the Monk or Inquisitor!

          • picchiettati says:

            Regina delle fate, brilliant idea: Lerma seems like such a fit for what Domingo has to offer today. The range is actually quite low for a tenor (mostly written smackdab in the middle of the staff), the character is an ambassador of a certain age («le vieux Comte de Lerme, ambassadeur d’Espagne»), and it’d be quite a coup: long-careered star tenor in a small role that requires authority.

            You’ve led me to a similar casting idea:

            Domingo as the royal herald in the auto-da-fé scene.

          • Camille says:

            Awaiting his Emperor Altoum and, ultimately, his Prince of Persia, that is if Our kashania will kindly and graciously cede “his” rôle!

          • kashania says:

            Camille: He can be in the B cast.

          • Camille says:


            Spoken like a *true divo*!! As well should be, I might add.

            Bravo, and JDF will certainly high five you for that one.

    • 2.2
      Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      Münchener Merkur only says that Domingo for Trovatore is “in discussion”

      “Gleich drei Verdi-Produktionen sind geplant, wie am Rande der Festspiele bekannt wurde: “Don Carlos” mit Jonas Kaufmann in der Titelrolle, “Troubadour” (für den angeblich Plácido Domingo in der Bariton-Rolle des Luna im Gespräch ist) und ein konzertanter “Nabucco”. “

    • 2.3
      Regina delle fate says:

      The Wagner bicentenary will be celebrated with a rather enticing Meistersinger directed by Steffan Herheim, conducted by Daniele Gatti and starring M Volle as Sachs and J Kaufmann as Stolzing. Some of the performances anyway, as he is also doing Don Carlos with R Pape and A Harteros as the King and Queen. Pappano conducting, Peter Stein directing. The Trovatore seems like one to avoid, especially if you will have seen AH and JK in München, Feldmarschallin!

      • 2.3.1

        A year ago I suggested Volle for a future (2016?) Ring but somebody said he would never sing Wotan. Well, Sachs is a step in that direction (he formerly sang Beckmesser). We’ll see.

        Kaufmann as Stolzing, not a good idea IMO. Too damn high.

          tiger1dk says:

          Kaufmann already sang Stolzing, at least in concert. I am sure some parterrians will know more.

          • operalover9001 says:

            Edinburgh in 2006, I believe, in concert. Sounded good to me, although I don’t know the opera well enough to know.

          peter says:

          Stolzing too high for Kaufmann? I can’t imagine a dramatic tenor role any higher than Bacchus and he certainly didn’t having any problems there (just last week).

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            Don’t forget that Stolzing is a hell of a lot longer than Bacchus, which incidentally I’ve just listened to and I wouldn’t say Kaufmann was totally unphased by it.

            I don’t rule out the possibility of a great Stolzing from Kaufmann, but I also don’t think it’s guaranteed.

          • peter says:

            I shouldn’t have said that Kaufmann had no problems with Bacchus but certainly a lot less than most. It’s a ridiculously high part. Now, I can see that some would think his voice may be a little dark for Stolzing.

          • Bill says:

            Peter -- well Apollo in Daphne may be higher.
            Many who sing Bacchus seem strangulated --
            Botha was quite fantastic in Vienna at the
            Theater an der Wien but then he is also
            (vocally) quite wonderful in Meistersinger and
            in my opinion unmatched as Apollo which probably Vogt could do but most likely has not
            yet. I liked Lotric as Bacchus some years ago but he seems to have disappeared. King, of
            course made it a specialty -- (as did Schock and
            Max Lorenz) -- have not heard Kaufmann as
            Bacchus but he is concentrating so much on
            Italian roles, that surely will not frequently sing Bacchus in the future. It is not truly
            a grateful role with the 3 sopranos in Ariadne stealing all the glory.

          Camille says:

          Too damn long!

          I go for the third act, only.
          Don’t tell MarshieIi.

          • peter says:

            Camille, Love, I like the 2nd act as well. It’s the first act that drags on a little too long for me.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Camille Belle very bad gurl!!!!!! tsk tsk tsk
            Sunday I listened to the first act THREE times!!!! I LOOOOOOVE the first act, but I do confess a lot more in the comfort of my home than in the theater :-) The music is glorious of course, through and through, but not much is happening on the stage, so I like it better as a symphony with voices :-)

          • Camille says:

            Badass Camille Is what they called me at the Old Rectory. I was constantly there, getting a whupping.

            Had no effect.

            Then I went off and married Mr. Rochester after a scandalous career as a Spanish dancer on the Continent.

            Now in my dotage I am bothering nice men on parterre. Next I shall be yodeling “Falling in love again” in Klingsor’s sweat-sodden fishnets.

            At least, I am not bored.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            The difficulty in Act I is that David’s long catalog is dramatically inert and kills all momentum unless it’s very astutely directed and performed. Yes, he’s showing off and twitting the presumptuous blueblood, but that’s not a big or interesting enough action to sustain such a long aria. You can keep things moving by having him clown around, but that too can get tiresome unless it seems to be leading somewhere.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            P.S. … though some of the names of David’s modes or tunes or however you want to translate “Weise” are good fun. I’m especially fond of the “isolated glutton” mode.

          kashania says:

          I’m saving Meistersingers for my old age. But one of the best things that Heppner ever sang was the Prieslied. It didn’t sound as difficult as it really is when he sang it.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Yes carissssimo Kashie, Heppner is nothing short of glorious in that recording. I absolutely adore him and that was one of the recordings I listened on Sunday. I had to get a new power amp (my faithful old one died after 20 years) and I pulled that recording for testing sonic splendor, and I was stuck with it for the rest of the day because of big Ben, what a glorious glorious sound he had. My favorite Meistersingers though is the Kubelik because of the divine Janowitz, and Konya is also equally glorious. Big Ben is also magnificent for Sawallisch, I have them all, can’t have enough of this sublime music.

            What do you mean for “old age”, are you calling us old queens??????? ;-)

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Kashie: There are a few operas I had saved for my “old age”, thinking I would eventually learn to love them. Now that I am older, I have absolutely no desire to listen to those works (even less than before). I bought a CD of one of those last year and couldn’t get through the first twenty minutes!
            I guess that I had a better chance when I was younger. Oh, well. LOL

            My advice, Kashie: you will love Meistersinger. Some of the most gorgeous music Wagner ever wrote.

          • kashania says:

            First off, I’m not calling anyone old, okay? I think it important to settle that right away!

            Secondly, I’ve heard sections of Meistersinger so I’m not exactly saving it. The prelude is one of my favourite opera overtures and I do love that sublime quintet in the third act. I’ve also listened to the ending. I will probably get to know the piece fully once I have an opportunity to see it live.

          • manou says:

            Kash -- old is better than dead.

          • Buster says:

            I was at the taping of that Solti Meistersinger -- as boring as a Meistersinger can get. A wimpy Jose van Dam, an over-sexed Eva, a relentlessy loud orchestra, Solti did nothing. I would stick with the other Marshie favorite Meistersinger, conducted by Kubelik, with Konya and Janowitz. Splendid sound.

          • Kubelik is certainly the most beautiful,.urtext Meister. Avoid both Solti recordings at all costs. Still I feel that the Kubelik is almost too beautifully sung. I miss some esprit and characterization. I need the stereo Karajan for the most beautiful playing imaginable and the great Kempe, Ferdinand Frantz and all.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CF Kempe is good because of Frantz allright but Lemnitz is so so only, the voice a tad inflexible, without much of the glory of the 30s, especially the Wessendonck of course. The version from Nuremberg is glorious but the sound not so good. In the Kempe the sound is great for a 1950s mono (I have it on Myto, what do you have? anything better sounding?). The Nurember is beyond help I think, as it was recorded on acetates it seems ….. what a pity, as it is no less than Furtwaengler!!!!!

  • 3
    Camille says:

    “Oh, vergogna!”!!!!!

    To think—i actually have heard Elizabeth Connell sing Lady Mac not once but twice, and her name never occurred to me. By number eighteen, though, I was seeing stars--OUFFFF!!!!

    What I learned from this esercizio was this: there are many quite excellent accounts of this aria out there with many varying types of voices. Sass, Cossotto, Tinsley, et alia. Very interestingly this role makes the primedonne in question ‘tira fuori’ their best.

    If i hadn’t gotten that damn headache, though, and thrown down my knitting……just goes to prove that first thought, best thought. After a few days on the back burner I just couldn’t think of anything fresh.

    Perhaps most tellingly of all—the great mystery of how Nada Michael came by her “technique” has been solved: she studied it with Silja, ovviamente!


  • 4
    Ilka Saro says:

    No fair! Dolora Zajick was disguising her voice to sound like Shirley Verrett!

    • 4.1
      kashania says:

      I have to say that even when listening to the quiz again with list of answers in front of me, I couldn’t identify Zajick. And I like to think I know her voice well.

      • 4.1.1
        spiderman says:

        maybe because she is singing as “light” as possible -- without her usual force in mezzosoprano territory!

        very funny Fabbricini got confused with Miricioiu and Verrett!
        (she sang that part only in two runs and while run 2 was in the middle of a heavy vocal crisis I quite like the recording of run 1. Very interesting, and intensive!

      • 4.1.2
        MontyNostry says:

        I wouldn’t have identified Zajick cold, but, knowing it’s her I can hear it’s her. The voice is actually quite sweet -- not steely and formidable. I was cross for not getting Dimitrova, even if the recording captures her in rattley form. And I do think Ludwig just had the wrong kind of sound for Verdi.

      • 4.1.3
        Camille says:

        I’m still convinced it was ballsy Baltsa, that’s why!!!

    • 4.2
      Clita del Toro says:

      She should be so lucky!

  • 5
    MontyNostry says:

    Listening to that all again, I’m most impressed by Tinsley (for gleam and clean attack) Scotto (for subtlety — and cunning use of less than opulent resources). Thank God Souliotis and Zampieri were never teamed up for Norma. Imagine those two hooting away together.

    • 5.1
      Camille says:

      I think that would have been a hoot, Sir Monty!

      Better it never happened. Think of the micro-tuning it would have involved.

  • 6
    Camille says:

    Can anyone tell me what shade of lipschtick Lady Stefania has on? I’ve been to the MAC website and not successfully sussed it out. I just love that color.


    • 6.1
      manou says:

      It seems this is called Viva Glam Gaga and the entire sales proceeds will go to the MAC AIDS Fund. It is sure to appeal to the people who are passionate about the cause.

      Send picture after purchase!

      • 6.1.1
        Camille says:

        Yeay! One can always count on madame manou!!

        And then there is this, too:

        “You never know, it might even help Lady Gaga enlarge her fan base to include people who did not think much of her and her style.”

        If you send a picture, do you get a refund on your money if they use for advertising purposes? No chance with me, as they would likely charge double for a little old lady using their wares! No matter, it’s for a good cause, and I can always put it on my dog!

          manou says:

          Well -- I meant send us a picture here on Parterre.

          Especially if you put it on your dog.

          • Camille says:

            Lipschtick has not arrived yet, but you get the picture:

          • MontyNostry says:

            Reminds me of the old gag:
            Q: What’s the difference between a Jewish American Princess and a rottweiler?
            A: Lipstick.

          • manou says:

            So Sarah Palin invented nothing?

          • oedipe says:

            Wait a minute, Monty! How does your gag work in the case of Valérie “Rottweiler”, who does wear lipstick, elle?

          • MontyNostry says:

            You’ve got me there, oedipe, but Val, just like Jewish Princesses, has great hair to go with the lips.

          Camille says:

          Golly, that’s a good deal. One Chantecaille Hydra Chic lipstick now costs a whopping US$35.00, so I may as well change over to a good cause.

          Now I wonder if I shall be able to drink champagne with the “Lipglass”….

  • 7
    Camille says:

    This is at least tangentially related, by geographic reference:
    Can anyone tell me if it is worth slogging through the heather to read Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverley”? All the while bearing in mind that I am a die-hard 19th c. Romantic and have a higher tolerance for purple passion.

    I am just interested to know a little more, ‘fore I should order it and have another dust collector on my shelves. As Sir Walter is the progenitor of many an opera libretto, I wanted to pay him some obeisances, that is all.

    Thank you to all for your kind indulgence.

    • 7.1
      rapt says:

      Hi Camille--

      I am (or was, years ago when I read him--so long ago that my recommendations rely on an increasingly foggy memory) a Scott fan, though I’ve never read his perhaps most operatically important one, The Bride of Lammermoor, which has a reputation for being one of his better works. I found Waverley slow, and the hero is what is technically known as a doofus, but there is some romantic stuff about the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The most touching, for me, was The Heart of Midlothian. Derring-do-wise, Ivanhoe has Richard the Lionhearted, The Abbott has Mary Queen of Scots, and Kenilworth Eliz. I (these big shots usually in minor but effective roles). I remember enjoying The Pirate (Shetland Islands setting--or somewhere way up north there). It does take a certain temperament to cozy up to his slow plot development (and slow sentences) and sometimes heavy-handed (but sometimes sharp) humor; his approach seems to me more Enlightenment than Romantic--but he definitely has an eye for the dramatic confrontation (once he gets there). I hope this fuzzy comment helps! Not often that I get to have a conversation about Scott…

      • 7.1.1
        Camille says:

        Thank you so very much for your reply, rapt, and it has given me a great deal more direction. Not fuzzy at all, and much appreciated.

        Bookmarked and saved for future reference. Looks like The Pirate might be one for me. Wondering if it is related to that flakey story that Il Pirata was based on.


          rapt says:

          As far as I recall, there’s no plot connection between The Pirate and the higher-class setting of Il Pirata. I think Bellini might have been trading on the popularity of Scott’s title, as he apparently did with I Puritani, the translated title of Old Mortality, which similarly has no plot relation to the Bellini work.

          • Camille says:

            I forgot to mention this, which could be of some interest to opera lovers: there is, or was, a website devoted to Scott and all his stories which have been worked up as opera libretti. A surprising number, far more than I could have possibly imagined. It is my understanding that it was Rossini’s adaptation of The Lady of the Lake which started the entire mad trend.

            I’ll go looking for that site to see if it is still around.

  • 8
    Camille says:

    After twenty-five years of tooth-gnashing, groaning and moaning, finalmente mia!, the Dimitrova Lady Mac I missed at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma which I regretted so much having missed:

    Not the most subtle or refined but a straight up theatrical thrill, or so i romani felt.
    Brava Ghena in sempiternum!

    • 8.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      Camillllissssima Belle one of the most extraordinary performances I ever attended was the Dimitrova MacBeth Lady in Verona 1982, I went out of Verona after the prima and had to come back for one more, it was so sensational!!!! I was haunted the whole summer with those performances. Then I saw her as Abigaille at Carnegie in 1984 and she was still quite fabulous. Finally at the Met for Turandot in 1987, second cast to Marton who had done the prima and helas it was pretty horrible, the top like hitting a glass ceiling, just couldn’t go higher. Lost interest.

      • 8.1.1
        Feldmarschallin says:

        marschie I saw that run too in Verona and also Connell as the Lady with Muti conducting. Then of course Zampieri as well. Today the only really good one is Lydmilla M.

          Enzo Bordello says:

          “Today the only really good one is Lydmilla M.”

          Riccardo Muti would disagree with you. He engaged Tatiana Serjan for Lady Macbeth at the Salzburg Festival and the Rome Opera.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            I just heard Serjan in March and was not at all impressed. I havent heard Lydmilla M yet but from what I heard on youtube and I heard her in the movies (broadcast from the Garden), she was quite good. Serjan is not up to her level IMO. At least not in March at BSO.

      • 8.1.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        My august Prinzessin, not only were we at the same unforgettable Verona performances, but I was also at the Connell/Muti at Carnegie Hall (I assume that’s what you mean?). Remember how the D-flat simply did not come out? you heard a hushed sound from the audience, like wow what happened there. Of course I much rather have that ending than the monstrosity that Michael did at the Met (music to torture by) a few months back.

          Cocky Kurwenal says:

          That’s the terrible thing about the way Lady Macbeth is written isn’t it -- unless a soprano is utterly rock solid, she gets tempted into all kinds of irresponsible behaviour across 4 arias, some duets and some massive ensembles, and then right at the very end of her role when she’s let it all hang out rather too much, she is supposed to do something many couldn’t even manage in perfect conditions in a rehearsal room -- a fil di voce on a top d-flat. I’ve heard it done well once -- Urmana about 10 years ago in concert at the Edinburgh festival. Every other performance I’ve been to (including 2 more with Urmana, staged at the ROH) it has been ballsed up to a greater or lesser extent, as it is on every recording I have. But I have read a few times now that Dimitrova in her day could do it brilliantly.

          • kashania says:

            Yeah, there are lots of cruel things in opera, but one of the cruellest is having Lady M sing a high D-flat as her penultimate role after all the singing that comes before it.
            Personally, I don’t care if the soprano opts out of it. Because it’s a basic arpeggio, it’s easy for the soprano to take a lower option without harming the music. I would much rather hear that than hearing the poor singer croak at the end of a valiant performance. That happened in Toronto when Georgina Lukas gave a commanding performance (despite some very fudged coloratura) and then quacked on the D-flat night after night. I didn’t see the point of it.

          • kashania says:

            It goes without saying that Callas managed the D-flat with no problem.

          Feldmarschallin says:

          no I wasnt at Muti Carnegie Hall but was at CH for Connell and Barenboim. There was a complete Tristan with Meier, 1 Aufzug Walküre with Denoke and 3 Akt Götterdämmerung with Connell. I hadnt heard her in ages and wasnt expecting much but she was superb. I heard Connell with Muti in Macbeth but at BSO in the 80’s.

    • 8.2
      MontyNostry says:

      Well, Camille, as I’ve no doubt said ad nauseam on here, I was lucky enough to see her Lady M twice -- once in Verona, with Bruson (and a fil di voce D flat at the end of the Sleepwalking Scene) and one in London -- again with Bruson, but no fil di voce, and possibly not a D flat at all. I was near the back of the theatre, but she pinned me to the back of my seat with ‘Ambizioso spirto’. Loudest voice I’ve ever heard, I think.

  • 9
    sl says:

    Yay, I am usually awful at these quizzes.

    The only Lady Macbeth I’ve ever seen live is Monastyrska. By all accounts she is not the best actress, but I was too far away to notice. She still sounded big and plush, agile in the tricky bits (some trills!) and a good D-flat even while awkwardly climbing into bed. Wasn’t Nadja Michael falling off chairs at this point?

    • 9.1
      Camille says:

      Frau Michael fell off the chair as soon as she entered! Miserable night at the opera.

      Well done, sl!

  • 10
    A. Poggia Turra says:

    Ciro clips have been posted:

  • 11
    Quanto Painy Fakor says: