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My heart at thy sweet quiz

La Cieca has heard the rumblings (from you, the cher public) that we have not had a singer identification quiz in all too long a while. And so, for your listening (and guessing) pleasure, parterre box is proud to present: “The Case of the Dozen Dalilas!”

Listen to the clip below, cher public, and offer your guesses as to the identities of the 12 artists singing “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” in the comments section. The first commenter to get all the singers correct (and in the correct order) will win a coveted Amazon Gift Card.

Ready to start listening?

La Cieca’s heartfelt thanks to her old, old, old friend Donald Collup for assembling this, uh, assemblage from his notably vast collection.


  • 41
    Ruxxy says:

    Congratulations fieldmarschallin -- well done! I’m afraid I was completely stumped on la Nikolaidi -- and having heard her clip thanks to la Cieca, I won’t be rushing to the CD store for that one. Talk about under the note all the way through -- or perhaps it is just the recording?

  • 42
    Feldmarschallin says:

    ‘I stay with Yelena’s version. She had a much more dignified and I’d say noble position, staying with her country through the numerous upheavals’

    Interesting to see that staying with your country in Russia is more dignified and a noble position yet on these boards singers and conductors who stayed in Germany in the thirties are routinely critized.

    • 42.1
      Krunoslav says:

      Indeed, Kleine Resi!

      MM II just isn’t thinking this through. Was it “dignified and honorable” for Georgy Nelepp (a great Ghermann) to denounce colleagues who were then sent to die in Siberian death camps? (c.f. Josef von Manowarda).

      Were (ahem) priests that acceded to the Disappearances in Argentina under the Dictators being “dignified and honorable”? Or actors like Robert Montgomery and directors like Elia Kazan who denounced their left-wing colleagues under McCarthyism?

    • 42.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Kruno, I have said it before, so you know I have thought this through. I think staying WITHIN your country and working to change what is wrong, while suffering with your fellow countrymen the consequences, has to be more dignified and noble, than going to live a life of luxury abroad, while denouncing and wishing evil to the country of origin, because you hate the rulers. Fact is the lovely couple bet twice on the wrong Communists, first with the Brezhnev apparatus, and then with Yeltsin who was an even bigger thug. The problem was not with the ideology as much as who treated them better.

      • 42.2.1
        Dave Yaney says:

        Caro Marhsie, I don’t know. I’m not Russian either. I’m not any kind of an expert on late Soviet/post Soviet Russian history. I get my information from generally available sources and my perspective is that of a curious, somewhat skeptical observer.

        This may indeed be a case of different interpretations. We keep returning to the Brezhnev lap dance. I agree that this incident is in her autobiography and it may give away her consuming careerism (though I think Krunoslav’s retelling is closer to what I remember…). What you don’t mention are the many examples in the autobiography (and from conventional news sources back in the day) of actions and statements that did not serve her career, quite the opposite. For an interpretation of Vishnevskaya’s career in Soviet Russia, I think both sets of facts should be included.

        I don’t know how their relationship with Yeltsin played out. I remember that Rostropovich made a heroic stand with Yeltsin during the Gorbachev coup in the Parliament building. I also remember him playing on the “smoldering ruins” of the Berlin Wall. I don’t remember the Svoboda Concert but, if you say it happened, I’m sure it did. I can remember a lot of people being “enthused” about Yeltsin and Co. and thinking that he was more “democratic” than what had come before. We were quickly disillusioned. This is a predominating pattern in 20th C Russian history.

        Whatever their involvement with Yeltsin and subsequent gangsters, pro- or anti-western, there is no evidence that I can find involving them in the “looting of Russia.” Vishnevskaya was recording into the 1990’s. Rostropovich’s workload as a conductor/performer was legendary. I don’t know how wealthy they were, but “émigré standards” covers a lot of territory. The émigré standards of Nureyev, or Baryshnikov, or Makarova, or the émigré standards of a cab-driver in Brighton Beach?

        I apologize for the “petty” remark, Marshie. I value you perspective and interpretations of Vishnevskaya’s career. My perspective is from a less exalted prospect, but my interpretation of her career is very different.

        Let the reader decide.

          oedipe says:

          Allow me to interfere in this discussion with a few general remarks.

          Firstly, there is no right and wrong interpretation involved here: all the points of view that have been expressed above are valid, it’s a matter of perspective. And the “facts” don’t change anything. Even if we had perfect knowledge of all the facts, we would still have to pass the hurdle of interpreting them.

          Let me explain. Marshie says:

          I think staying WITHIN your country and working to change what is wrong, while suffering with your fellow countrymen the consequences, has to be more dignified and noble, than going to live a life of luxury abroad, while denouncing and wishing evil to the country of origin, because you hate the rulers.

          Now, this is not flippant idle talk, Marshie is onto something important. I am ready to bet that many millions of people in the former Soviet bloc feel that this is a central and VERY PAINFUL issue which will take several generations to sort out and heal. On the contrary, Dave Yaney’s logical, detached point of view on the subject corresponds, I would think, to the opinions of a majority of Westerners. Are the Westerners right and the others wrong? Or vice versa?

          Secondly, life AT THE TOP in the Soviet bloc was a complicated affair -especially for successful artists and people in the media. They had privileges, and they had power. And everybody knew everybody else very well. A Westerner would have considered those relationships almost promiscuous…The privileges and the power could disappear overnight: it was enough to fall out of favor with the rulers. Few people were “saints”; you had to compromise to SOME extent if you wanted to survive. If you happened to speak out for someone who had all of a sudden become a pariah, you fell out of favor as well. Thus, many people preferred to keep their mouths shut. Can you blame them? How many of you would react differently?

          But dissident artists kept some of their power (though they lost their privileges): their new power was derived from the fear their art/opinions inspired in the rulers. There is no equivalent in the West: artists have no such influence. So an artist from the Soviet bloc who “defected” to the West could become rich and famous, but would lose this power to influence his/her environment by being a dissident. There was this aura (and a certain feeling of self-fulfilment) associated with being a dissident and staying put. Back “home”, a defector to the West was always deemed to have an easier time of it than anyone who stayed in the Soviet bloc, be they dissidents or compromisers, because people in the Soviet bloc assumed life in the West was opulent and easy.

          In view of all this, how do we make value judgements as to who is righteous and who isn’t?

          • armerjacquino says:

            There’s a huge, unaddressed assumption at the centre of the quote you cite from Marshie, though. Just because people like Obratzsova stayed put, it doesn’t mean that they were ‘working to change what was wrong’. Indeed many artists who choose to put themselves at the service of oppressive regimes could be thought of as part of the problem.

          • oedipe says:

            Well, what I was trying to say (somewhat independently of Marshie’s quote) is that VERY FEW people in the Soviet bloc were entirely blameless and never in their lives put themselves at the service of the regime (at least among the living that is). You have to realize that, to most people behind the Iron Curtain, these regimes seemed eternal (their eventual collapse came as a huge shock) and one had to find ways to cope if one wanted to live. Also, contrary to what it may have looked like from a distance, the “party line”, i.e. the people and the ideologies to cherish, were very changeable under communism. So from one day to the next an artist could find him/herself moving from being a dissident to being a “hero”, or vice versa, as a function of who the ruler happen to be at the time and what his biases were. Nothing was cut and dry, really.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Mille grazie my beloved Oedipe, my intellectual soulmate! I’ll have much more to say tomorrow as I am getting ready for Traviata tonight!

          • Dave Yaney says:

            I’m fine with your remarks. I don’t want to impose my detachment or value judgments on Vishnevskaya, Obraztsova, or anyone else.

            When I read MarshieMarkII’s post about Vishnevskaya, it struck me as at very inconsistent with almost every other thing I’ve read or heard about her. She’s someone I’ve admired as an artist and as a person for a long time. I thought she needed a defender. I gave my interpretation of what I’ve heard and read about her life.
            Her very admirable life. Sorry…couldn’t resist…

            I’ll be glad to let the matter rest there.

      • 42.2.2
        Krunoslav says:

        “I think staying WITHIN your country and working to change what is wrong, while suffering with your fellow countrymen the consequences, has to be more dignified and noble, than going to live a life of luxury abroad, while denouncing and wishing evil to the country of origin, because you hate the rulers”

        So that in your view Elisabeth Vigee le Brun, Thomas Mann, Arturo Toscanini, Marlene Dietrich, Pablo Casals and the Dalai Lama are all to be condemned as traitors?

        While such as Tiana Lemnitz and Toti del Monte should be praised for “working inside the system”?

          marshiemarkII says:

          “So that in your view Elisabeth Vigee le Brun, Thomas Mann, Arturo Toscanini, Marlene Dietrich, Pablo Casals and the Dalai Lama are all to be condemned as traitors?”

          Caro Kruno, you persist in bringing these examples that to you prove your point, and to me are examples of sophistry at its best. So I will play your game, would you add to your list one Vladimir Lenin living a golden exile in Europe while agitating against his home country that was fighting World War I? was that admirable?
          was he beneficial for his country?

          All I was saying was that Yelena never left her home country, having had LOTS of opportunities to go into a golden exile of opulence and luxury. She didn’t, and she had to suffer IN RUSSIA the gangster days of early Russian capitalism under Yeltsin, just as she had suffered the horrors of communism before that. The other one, lived in Communist luxury, moved to Western luxury, and returned when she could have a luxurious “Russian” final days under the tutelage of the former head of the Moscow Communist party. It had nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with ME, ME and ME.

  • 43
    Ruxxy says:

    Yea Dave don’t take too much notice of Marshie -- his heads in a whirl cos he’s playing Violetta tonight … I’m not too sure about people (especially talented artists) being beholden to stay in their countries to fight corrupt systems to engender change etc. Methinks better they get out to where they are better appreciated and able to develop their art -- which in its own way puts pressure on the crap box situation they left behind.
    As far as Vish and Obraz were concerned -- I think it’s pretty clear Vish and Mish were bloody bold and brave to stand up to the system by taking in Solzy etc and full credit for that alone. As for Obraz -- I don’t think there’s any doubt about what she did at the time -- that’s never been denied- but with hindsight you could say she backed the wrong horse because it happened at the latter end of the Soviet era. Under Stalin things would have been very different.

    Frankly that’s all very interesting and you can believe what you like -- but the good thing is at least we got to hear them both (three of them including Misha) doing some mighty fine work- and we are all richer for it.