Cher Public

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Ich kann nicht überspitzen

Frankly, the response to the Elektra quiz was uneven. La Cieca will explain after the jump.

For the first time in parterre history, there was no clear winner of one of La Cieca’s quizzes: certainly no one got all the voices identified correctly, and there were only a few attempts at a complete list, with some very good guesses but (so far as your doyenne could tell) not one that passed the 50% mark. So, with your permission, La Cieca is going to reserve awarding the Solti Strauss set for a later date and another quiz.

For the record, here are the 13 Mycenaean princesses:

  1. Lisbeth Balslev
  2. Katarina Dalayman
  3. Rose Pauly
  4. Christine Goerke
  5. Ursula Schroder-Feinen
  6. Inge Borkh
  7. Gerda Lammers (From a MET pirate – not her famous CG/Kempe performance)
  8. Evelyn Herlitzius
  9. Gertrude Kappel (From the MET premiere in ’32 and the oldest extant MET broadcast)
  10. Olivia Stapp
  11. Rita Hunter
  12. Gertrud Grob-Prandl
  13. Ute Vinzing

Better luck next time, cher public, and we’ll have another vocal ID quiz to test your mettle very soon!

47 comments

  • 1
    stevey says:

    I give up.

    • 1.1
      Camille says:

      Don’t give up, stevey.

      Isn’t it interesting, the way that practically everyone was able to identify Inge Borkh, #6, no matter what else was right or wrong. I wonder why that was~~why her vocal imprint is so identifiable. Perhaps because she has made umpteen recordings of Elektra? Perhaps, maybe, because she is one of the only Elektras that doesn’t sound like a snarling, PMS-ing, OLD, hochdramatisch sopran who has seen better days, but actually like a tragic victim in a Greek Tragedy? Because the accent of pathos in her fragile instrument is so very expressive and telling?

      Well, I don’t know why, but have always loved her Elektra and find it the most enjoyable to listen to because of that pathos.

      Don’t give up, stevey! There is always another time and you never know when you may get lucky!

      • 1.1.1
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        Camillina, re: Borkh, it’s all that glottal attack…

        • 1.1.1.1
          Camille says:

          I do not hear that.
          What I hear is an excess of quavery vibrato which-somehow-she turns to an advantage and translates into something heartrending.

          She didn’t even really have the proper instrument for this part. When she spoke at the Wagner Society about a dozen years ago, along with Blanche Thebom (today’s birthday girl), she mentioned ruefully how many a Chrysothemis let her know in no uncertain terms and by blasting her in their shared music, just HOW undervoiced she was, in comparison.

          Somehow she succeeds better by this deficiency than the others, die Grosse Gertrude and the Insuperable Birgit, for she expresses by her weakness what the others cannot—the limitless dark and uncured space where her heart and soul once lived and we know nothing will cure her, not even Orestes’ advent.

          Perhaps it was her very specific training as an actress which allowed her to do this. She was Elektra. She was still an electrifying presence, even as an old lady, just speaking at the Wagner Society. I am forever glad I went to hear her and that I had the chance to speak with her. A great artist and human being.

          Just my feelings, sorry.

          • The_Kid says:

            yes, yes, YES! Inge Borkh was, above all, a FANTASTIC vocal actress, and she left her mark on Elektra so indelibly that even today most of us have no difficulties in identifying her vocal signature. She must have been quite a presence, Mme. Camille :)
            Here’s Borkh singing yet another role that needs, above all, fantastic acting skills!

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Kid, thank you over and over for that Antigonä link. I had no idea it was available on YT. I’m completely unable to be objective about whether the music is any good or not -- between Borkh and the other performers and Hölderlin’s indescribably gorgeous words I just get totally sucked in, and it’s been like that ever since I bought the LPs back when I was in college lo these many eons ago.

  • 2
    stevey says:

    But, seriously- thanks to both our august doyenne and our quiz maestro DeCaffarrelli for yet another great, GREAT quiz! I do love these things, even though I seem to utterly humiliate myself with them. Perhaps they satisfy whatever latent masochist leanings I may have buried within me… ;-)
    Now, if anyone wants me, I’ll be the one with his head buried in the sand…

    Oh, and to DeCaffarrelli- where do you FIND these wonderful recordings, some of which I never even would have DREAMED existed!! (Lisbeth Balslev’s Elektra?? I’m dying here!!! (lol))

  • 3
    Buster says:

    Thanks a lot for this -- great selection, very enlightening. I had no idea Goerke was camp -- that was just bloody awful.

    • 3.1
      Porgy Amor says:

      I kind of liked (4), even though I wondered what the singer of Klytämnestra did that night to compete with it, let alone top it. I’d be curious to hear the whole thing.

      The revelation for me here is (2). I would not have begun to try to identify all of these, because my ELEKTRA knowledge is not so vast as stevey’s, say, but Dalayman would *not* have been my guess for that one. I’m impressed. On the basis of her Wagner and Berg, I’ve had her in a box as competent but monotonous and not all that expressive, but this bit sounds like an interesting performance — cool, poised, seething, and one senses it’s going somewhere.

    • 3.2
      Buster says:

      The only one I really love is Herlitzius, who understands Elektra as a badly hurt girl. As a former dancer, she also moves better than any other Elektra:

      • 3.2.1

        I’m in LOVE with Herlitzius after her Faerberin for Thielemann. There, I’ve said it. I don’t care that the voice is meh, I don’t care she’s sharp most of the time, I just love her, the wonderful diction and sense of character and text and anxiety and warmth she brings to the stage, I love her charisma and vulnerability and I love to hear her express her views. A mighty intelligent woman and a fantastic performer. Ducking.

    • 3.3
      aulus agerius says:

      You should hear her Norma, Buster -- if you can stand it! I can help with that if you wish:-)

      • 3.3.1
        aulus agerius says:

        Norma refers to Goerke not Herlitzius.

        • 3.3.1.1
          Clita del Toro says:

          I saw Goerke’s Norma in Seattle--YUCH! Podles stole the show as Adalgisa. But I have to say, Goerke’s O Don Fatal in Millennium Park last week was very exciting.

          • Krunoslav says:

            Goerke admits in interviews she was in vocal trouble then. She did MUCH better as Norma in Philadelphia opposite Kristine Jepson a few years later. And the recent stuff -- Chrysothemis, Ortrud, Eboli- has been terrific.

      • 3.3.2
        Buster says:

        This will do fine for the moment, aulus agerius, thanks. Does this have to sound so depressing?

  • 4
    La marquise de Merteuil says:

    OT: New Callas footage -- maybe new for some!

  • 5
    taminosboyfriend says:

    Off topic, but someone asked for this so I made the list.
    THE METROPOLITAN OPERA 2012-2013 SEASON
    LIVE SIRIUS AND TOLL BROTHERS BROADCASTS
    Monday, September 24, 2012, 7:00 pm: Opening Night Gala: L’Elisir d’Amore
    Benini; Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Maestri
    Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 7:30 pm Turandot
    Ettinger; Guleghina, Gerzmava, Berti, Morris
    Friday, September 28, 2012, 7:30 pm Carmen
    Mariotti; Royal, Rachvelishvili, Lee, Ketelsen
    Monday, October 1, 2012, 7:30 pm L’Elisir d’Amore
    Benini; Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Maestri
    Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 7:30 pm Turandot
    Ettinger; Guleghina, Gerzmava, Berti, Morri
    Thursday, October 4, 2012, 7:30 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Giannattasio, Zajick, Jones, Vassallo, Robinson
    Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 7:30 pm Otello
    Bychkov; Fleming, Botha, Fabiano, Struckmann
    Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7:30 pm L’Elisir d’Amore
    Benini; Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Maestri
    Thursday, October 11, 2012, 7:30 pm Carmen
    Mariotti; Royal, Rachvelishvili, Lee, Croft
    Monday, October 15, 2012, 7:30 pm Carmen
    Mariotti; Royal, Rachvelishvili, Lee, Ketelsen
    Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 7:30 pm Otello
    Bychkov; Fleming, Botha, Fabiano, Struckmann

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 7:30 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Yu, Zajick, Jones, Òdena, Robinson
    Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7:30 pm The tempest
    Adès; Luna, Leonard, Davies, Shrader, Oke, Burden, Spence, Keenlyside
    Thursday, October 25, 2012, 7:30 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Yu, Zajick, Jones, Vassallo, Robinson
    Friday, October 26, 2012, 7:30 pm Le nozze di Figaro
    Robertson; Kovalevska, Erdmann, Schäfer, Finley, Abdrazakov
    Monday, October 29, 2012, 7:30 pm Le nozze di Figaro
    Robertson; Kovalevska, Erdmann, Schäfer, Finley, Abdrazakov
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 7:30 pm The tempest
    Adès; Luna, Leonard, Davies, Shrader, Oke, Burden, Spence, Keenlyside
    Friday, November 2, 2012, 8:00 pm Turandot
    Ettinger; Theorin, Brugger, Giordani, Morris
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 8:00 pm The tempest
    Adès; Luna, Leonard, Davies, Shrader, Oke, Burden, Spence, Keenlyside
    Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 7:30 pm Le nozze di Figaro
    Robertson; Kovalevska, Erdmann, Schäfer, Finley, Abdrazakov
    Thursday, November 8, 2012, 7:30 pm Un ballo in maschera
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 7:30 pm Le nozze di Figaro
    Robertson; Kovalevska, Erdmann, Schäfer, Finley, Abdrazakov
    Thursday, November 15, 2012, 7:30 pm Un ballo in maschera
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky

    Friday, November 16, 2012, 7:30 pm La clemenza di Tito
    Bicket; Crowe, Frittoli, Garanca, Lindsey, Filianoti, Gradus
    Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:30 pm Un ballo in maschera
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 7:30 pm La clemenza di Tito
    Bicket; Crowe, Frittoli, Garanca, Lindsey, Filianoti, Gradus
    Friday, November 23, 2012, 7:30 pm Aida
    Luisi; Monastyrska, Borodina, Berti, Mastromarino, Kocán, Sebestyén
    Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 7:30 pm Un ballo in maschera
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Blythe, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 7:30 pm Don Giovanni
    Gardner; Phillips, Bell, Siurina, Castronovo, Abdrazakov, Schrott, Soar, Aceto
    Thursday, November 29, 2012, 7:30 pm Aida
    Luisi; Monastyrska, Borodina, Berti, Mastromarino, Kocán, Sebestyén
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 7:30 pm Un ballo in maschera
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Blythe, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky
    Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 8:00 pm Don Giovanni
    Gardner; Phillips, Bell, Siurina, Castronovo, Abdrazakov, Schrott, Soar, Aceto
    Thursday, December 6, 2012, 8:00 pm La clemenza di Tito
    Bicket; Crowe, Frittoli, Garanca, Lindsey, Thomas, Gradus
    Saturday, December 8, 2012, 1:00 pm Un ballo in maschera MATINEE
    Luisi; Radvanovsky, Kim, Blythe, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 7:30 pm Aida
    Luisi; Monastyrska, Borodina, Alagna, Gagnidze, Kocán, Sebestyén

    Thursday, December 13, 2012, 6:00 pm Les Troyens
    Luisi; Voigt, Graham, Cargill, Giordani, Cutler, Croft, Youn
    Saturday, December 15, 2012, 1:00 pm Aida MATINEE
    Luisi; Monastyrska, Borodina, Alagna, Gagnidze, Kocán, Sebestyén
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 7:30 pm The barber of Seville
    Abel; Leonard, Shrader, Pogossov, Del Carlo, Bisch
    Thursday, December 20, 2012, 7:30 pm Don Giovanni
    Gardner; Phillips, Bell, Siurina, Castronovo, Abdrazakov, Schrott, Soar, Aceto
    Saturday, December 22, 2012, 1:00 pm The barber of Seville
    Abel; Leonard, Shrader, Pogossov, Del Carlo, Bisch
    Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 6:30 pm Les Troyens
    Luisi; Voigt, Graham, Cargill, Giordani, Cutler, Croft, Youn
    Thursday, December 27, 2012, 7:30 pm The barber of Seville
    Abel; Leonard, Shrader, Pogossov, Del Carlo, Bisch
    Monday, December 31, 2012, 6:30 pm Maria Stuarda
    Benini; van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose
    Thursday, January 3, 2013, 7:30 pm The barber of Seville
    Abel; Leonard, Shrader, Pogossov, Del Carlo, Bisch
    Saturday, January 5, 2013, 12:00 pm Les Troyens
    Luisi; Voigt, Graham, Cargill, Giordani, Cutler, Croft, Youn
    Monday, January 7, 2013, 7:30 pm Turandot
    Ettinger; Theorin, Gerzmava, Fraccaro, Ramey
    Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 7:30 pm Maria Stuarda
    Benini; van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose

    Friday, January 11, 2013, 7:30 pm La rondine
    Marin; Opolais, Christy, Filianoti, Brenciu, Croft
    Saturday, January 12, 2013, 1:00 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Racette, Blythe, Berti, Markov, Stamboglis
    Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7:30 pm Maria Stuarda
    Benini; van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose
    Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7:30 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Meade, Blythe, Berti, Markov, Stamboglis
    Thursday, January 17, 2013, 7:30 pm Le comte Ory
    Benini; Machaidze, Deshayes, Resmark, Flórez, Gunn, Ulivieri
    Saturday, January 19, 2013, 1:00 pm Maria Stuarda
    Benini; van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 7:30 pm Maria Stuarda
    Benini; van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose
    Thursday, January 24, 2013, 7:30 pm Il trovatore
    Callegari; Racette, Blythe, Berti, Markov, Stamboglis
    Saturday, January 26, 2013, 1:00 pm La rondine
    Marin; Opolais, Christy, Filianoti, Brenciu, Croft
    Monday, January 28, 2013, 8:00 pm Rigoletto
    Mariotti; Damrau, Volkova, Beczala, Lucic, Kocán
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 8:00 pm L’Elisir d’Amore
    Benini; Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Schrott
    Saturday, February 2, 2013, 1:00 pm Le comte Ory
    Benini; Machaidze, Deshayes, Resmark, Flórez, Gunn, Ulivieri

    Monday, February 4, 2013, 7:30 pm Rigoletto
    Mariotti; Damrau, Volkova, Beczala, Lucic, Kocán
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 7:30 pm Le comte Ory
    Benini; Machaidze, Deshayes, Resmark, Flórez, Gunn, Ulivieri
    Saturday, February 9, 2013, 1:00 pm L’Elisir d’Amore
    Benini; Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Schrott
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 7:30 pm Rigoletto
    Mariotti; Damrau, Volkova, Beczala, Lucic, Kocán
    Friday, February 15, 2013, 6:00 pm Parsifal
    Gatti; Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape
    Saturday, February 16, 2013, 1:00 pm Rigoletto
    Mariotti; Damrau, Volkova, Beczala, Lucic, Kocán
    Thursday, February 21, 2013, 6:00 pm Parsifal
    Gatti; Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape
    Friday, February 22, 2013, 7:00 pm Don Carlo
    Maazel; Frittoli, Smirnova, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Furlanetto, Halfvarson
    Saturday, February 23, 2013, 12:30 pm Carmen
    Mariotti; Scherbachenko, Rachvelishvili, Schukoff, Rhodes
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:00 pm Carmen
    Mariotti; Hong, Rachvelishvili, Richards, Rhodes
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 6:00 pm Parsifal
    Gatti; Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape
    Saturday, March 2, 2013, 12:00 pm Parsifal
    Gatti; Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape

    Monday, March 4, 2013, 7:30 pm Francesca da Rimini
    Armiliato; Westbroek, Giordani, Brubaker, Delavan
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 7:00 pm Don Carlo
    Maazel; Frittoli, Smirnova, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Furlanetto, Halfvarson
    Saturday, March 9, 2013, 11:00 am Don Carlo
    Maazel; Frittoli, Smirnova, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Furlanetto, Halfvarson
    Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 8:00 pm Francesca da Rimini
    Armiliato; Westbroek, Giordani, Brubaker, Delavan
    Thursday, March 14, 2013, 7:30 pm La traviata
    Nézet-Séguin; Damrau, Pirgu, Domingo
    Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:00 pm Francesca da Rimini
    Armiliato; Westbroek, Giordani, Brubaker, Delavan
    Monday, March 18, 2013, 7:30 pm La traviata
    Nézet-Séguin; Damrau, Pirgu, Domingo
    Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:30 pm Otello
    Altinoglu; Stoyanova, Cura, Dolgov, Hampson
    Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:30 pm Faust
    Altinoglu; Poplavskaya, Boulianne, Beczala, Markov, Relyea
    Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 7:30 pm Otello
    Altinoglu; Stoyanova, Cura, Dolgov, Vratogna
    Thursday, March 28, 2013, 7:30 pm Faust
    Altinoglu; Poplavskaya, Boulianne, Beczala, Markov, Relyea
    Saturday, March 30, 2013, 12:30 pm La traviata
    Nézet-Séguin; Damrau, Pirgu, Domingo

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 8:00 pm La traviata
    Nézet-Séguin; Damrau, Pirgu, Domingo
    Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:30 pm Giulio Cesare in Egitto
    Bicket; Dessay, Coote, Bardon, Daniels, Dumaux, Loconsolo
    Saturday, April 6, 2013, 1:00 pm Das Rheingold
    Luisi; Harmer, Blythe, Arwady, Margita, Siegel, Delavan, Owens, Selig, König
    Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:00 pm Giulio Cesare in Egitto
    Bicket; Dessay, Coote, Bardon, Daniels, Dumaux, Loconsolo
    Saturday, April 13, 2013, 11:00 am Die Walkure
    Luisi; Voigt, Serafin, Blythe, O’Neill, Delavan, König
    Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 8:00 pm Rigoletto
    Armiliato; Oropesa, Herrera, Grigolo, Gagnidze, Iori
    Saturday, April 20, 2013, 11:00 am Siegfried
    Luisi; Dalayman, Arwady, Morris, Siegel, Delavan, Owens
    Monday, April 22, 2013, 7:00 pm Giulio Cesare in Egitto
    Bicket; Dessay, Coote, Bardon, Daniels, Dumaux, Loconsolo
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 6:00 pm Gotterdammerung
    Luisi; Voigt, Harmer, Cargill, Morris, Paterson, Owens, König
    Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7:30 pm Rigoletto
    Armiliato; Oropesa, Herrera, Grigolo, Gagnidze, Iori
    Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:00 pm Giulio Cesare in Egitto
    Bicket; Dessay, Coote, Bardon, Daniels, Dumaux, Loconsolo
    Monday, April 29, 2013, 6:00 pm Siegfried
    Luisi; Dalayman, Arwady, Morris, Siegel, Delavan, Owens

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 7:30 pm Rigoletto
    Armiliato; Oropesa, Herrera, Grigolo, Gagnidze, Iori
    Saturday, May 4, 2013, 11:30 am Dialogues des Carmelites
    Langrée; Leonard, Racette, Morley, Bishop, Palmer, Appleby
    Monday, May 6, 2013, 6:30 pm Die Walkure
    Luisi; Voigt, Serafin, Blythe, O’Neill, Grimsley, König
    Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:30 pm Dialogues des Carmelites
    Langrée; Leonard, Racette, Morley, Bishop, Palmer, Appleby
    Saturday, May 11, 2013, 11:00 am Gotterdammerung
    Luisi; Voigt, Harmer, Cargill, Cleveman, Paterson, Fink, König

    • 5.1
      Camille says:

      Thanks a billion for this list, boyfriend of Tamino!

      I have bookmarked it and will refer to it all season long. Hoping you just copied it out from somewhere and did not have to enter all that information!

      • 5.1.1
        taminosboyfriend says:

        I had to enter all the information, but it is important. Glad to share it!

        • 5.1.1.1
          manou says:

          Well -- Tamino must have felt neglected during this long labour of love. Thanks!

        • 5.1.1.2
          Camille says:

          Another billion thank yous and a great big sloppy wet kiss, too!!

          Sometimes people do the damndest nicest things here, despite all.

    • 5.2
      Rory Williams says:

      Thanks, TaminosBF! This is great. Can’t believe you went to the trouble, but it’s wonderful of you.

  • 6
    armerjacquino says:

    I sidestepped humiliation by not even listening to this quiz. Reading the answers, I think I did the right thing. I reckon I would *probably* have spotted Borkh. So that’s (a possible) 1 out of 13!

    I do love the quizzes though. May put together an ‘Abscheulicher’ one at some stage, if people fancy it.

  • 7
    kashania says:

    I LOVE the vocal ID quizzes and have enjoyed every one. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say that we seem to have reached a point where each quiz is trying to outdo the previous one in its degree of difficulty. I’m guessing that the reason there were so few guesses at a complete list is because few people could even attempt one (let alone have a hope of being correct).

    • 7.1
    • 7.2
      Porgy Amor says:

      Agreed, kash. This was a fascinating one to hear and review the results of, but on the competitive level, I’m not surprised no one broke the 50% barrier and that not many ventured guesses. Just a few more Borkh-level obvious choices (Nilsson, Varnay, Marton, Jones, Rysanek), making 3 to 4 out of 13 where you could say “Without a doubt that’s So-and-so,” would have made it more inviting.

  • 8
    verliebtenmadeleine says:

    I love the quizzes, but I agree that this one was rather excessively difficult. I have nine recordings of Elektra -- it’s my favorite opera -- and the only one I guessed correctly was Borkh.

  • 9
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    I got 0. I couldn’t identify any of these ladies, I keep waiting for Nilsson or Gwyneth or Behrens to pop up, but none of them did.

    I was struck by how beautiful Dalayman, Schroeder and even Herlitzius sounded. Goerke was pure filth. I remember her Alcina at NYCO. I think her transition to dramatic soprano just made her voice really unattractive. That was my impression when someone posted her ‘O don fatale’ in French here recently.

  • 10
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    The first phrase above should have been “I got zero.”

  • 11
    Camille says:

    Hey Cieca!

    Are you giving away that snazzy car (pictured above) in the next contest?
    I would risk another migraine if that’s the prize.

    When will we hear about your Roman rondez-vous and Venetian ventures?
    We are all awaiting with bated breath.

    Ciao, Ciechissima! Make sure to get all those brooches and earrings out of hock, the silk slips all pressed, the wigs brushed out thoroughly and your Jimmy Choo’s retooled afore traipsing across that Plaza, which is slippery, when wet. And watch out for any fat old men in top hats offering you an ‘elixir’, as it ain’t gonna be Santa Claus.