Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Buster: Thanks for that story, Zinka. He seems to have a lot of fun here: httpv://www.youtub e.com/watch?v... 11:06 AM
  • Cicciabella: Absolutely, MdM! The interpretation is sweet without being cloying. And such a beautiful,... 10:45 AM
  • La Cieca: Never mind that you think it would be cute assign to a mob of political opportunists the absolute... 10:32 AM
  • La marquise de Merteuil: Cicciabella is there ANYTHING more wonderful than La Battle in Scarlatti’s Il... 10:27 AM
  • Cicciabella: …that would be Baroque Duet. 10:27 AM
  • La Valkyrietta: La Cieca, manou, sorry and thank you, respectively. No intention of getting out of line.... 10:26 AM
  • Cicciabella: I haven’t seen this documentary (hope I find time to do so), but Baroque Duets is one of... 10:23 AM
  • alejandro: hot pic. *swoon* 10:05 AM
  • manou: Oh I don’t know – I find it quite witty. 10:02 AM
  • La Cieca: You’re not funny, you know. 9:37 AM

Fire down below

The Immolation Quiz now stands tied between two competitors, each of whom has identified correctly 20 of the 25 singers represented. Furthermore, it appears to La Cieca that every artist heard in the compilation clip has been named, with the exception of two (2) dramatic sopranos. (She has been misidentified by several different commenters, in fact.) And so, cher public, for the same of your own copy of Wagner at the Met: Legendary Performances, your doyenne urges you to try, try again!

40 comments

  • LittleMasterMiles says:

    With apologies for the thread hijack (since I have zero competitivity in the Immolation Quiz), what do we think of this intro-to-opera Buzzfeed?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/uhohspaghettio/what-happened-to-opera-9mn7

  • Troppo Primavera says:

    I think the missing soprano is Amy Shuard.If I’m right do I get a prize?

    • La Cieca says:

      In fact (without saying one way or the other whether your Ms. Shuard was included in the quiz, on reflection La Cieca realizes that there are in fact two (2) artists included in the quiz whose names have not yet been mentioned as part of an attempted solution. (La Cieca has revised the above posting to reflect that correction.)

  • k0000 says:

    Point of clarification: does your statement that “every artist heard in the compilation clip has been named, with the exception of two (2) dramatic sopranos. (She has been misidentified by several different commenters, in fact)” refer to all the responses, or just to those commenters who submitted numbered lists of singers?

    • La Cieca says:

      That refers to all the responses to the original posting. Two artists who appear in the compilation had not, as of La Cieca’s comment revised this morning, been mentioned anywhere in those responses.

  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    Well, maybe here is a good place to post this…

    Rheingold tonight was simply GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS, what a wonderful performance, and Das Machine did not misbehave. Luisi and the orchestra were just fabulous and so was the ensemble cast, with a minor reservation, and the audience was just so happy to give them all a huge hand, maybe over 5 minutes worth of vociferous applause. Luisi did bring out the delicacy and wit of the score, the beauty and the menace, all those delicate textures and roaring brasses — some minor quibbles, some singers got swallowed up in climaxes and I wanted some more urgency and terror when Alberich steals the Rhine gold — but overall, the orchestra brought out the genius of Wagner’s scofre.

    I had seen this staging maybe 2 years ago on film only, and perhaps Rheingold is the better staged of this cycle by Lepage (although I haven’t seen Siegfried yet). Wonderful visuals in the bridge that takes Wotan and Loge to Niebelheim as well as the rainbow bridge to Valhala at the end. The machine was in good behavior tonight save some not too loud creaks and bangs when it moves.

    There was unfortunately a central gap in this mostly wonderful cast and that was Delavan’s Wotan, which was mostly underpowered and indistinct, lacking the grandeur and authority one expects. The audience’s reaction reflected this, with bigger and louder applause for Owens (Alberich), Margita (Loge), Blythe (Fricka), Siegel (Mime) and even the giants (Selig and Koenig). Margita was a revelation, an impish Loge that made a great impression, not the least with a lyrical, character tenor. Richard Cox displayed a heldentenor voice for Froh, D. Croft again was Donner, Harmer with a throbbing, large and very bright soprano (perhaps a future Bruennhilde?) was Freya. Arwady was the serviceable Erda (I have no luck with this role, always expecting a rich, deep contralto voice, instead I get W. White, Bardon and now Arwady).

    Owens was fabulous, with a rich, rich bass and wonderful characterization. Siegel also displayed great characterization in his short scene, and Selig made Fasolt a much more sympathetic character than Wotan for sure. The Rhinemaides were all very good: Larusdottir, Johnson Caño and Tatum.

    • Nerva Nelli says:

      Bianca, I am not meaning to be contrary, but much as I love RHEINGOLD and was eager t enjoy it I found it a pretty routine evening-- the brass in trouble all the way through, and Luisi really not raising the temperature at all I agree with your comments on Delavan and Arwady, and I did like Harmer, Koenig, Siegel and Croft, one of the best Donners I’ve ever heard. Blythe’s top a little iffy, Selig got tired about 20 minutes into his part. Rhinemaidens not bad but not on the level of last time out.

      My main problem, apart from the empty-headed staging and Luisi, was Margita, whose Loge I found very panto-ish and camp, with both note values and German a bit too approximate-- too Shuisky-ish a sound, and too many cackles and too much mugging. But then I seem to have been almost the only person who really liked Richard Croft in the role.

      • Bianca Castafiore says:

        Well, Nerva, it wasn’t routine for me as it was my first live Rheingold — I did see the HD transmission in the movie theater maybe 2 or 3 years ago? when it first debuted — and I’m not as familiar with this score as I am with Walküre and GD, so it was a good revelation in many ways. I was sitting too close to the stage and the loud, reverberating cymbals were too distracting in my opinion. Maybe another indication of how the conducting went is the length of the perf., according to my estimation, the perf. went from 7:35 to about 10:15, so that’s more or less 2h40 — maybe 10-15 min. too long for some????

        Also from my vantage view, a funny thing happened when Fafner (König) takes his gold hoard and leaves the stage: he dropped the ring! which remained on the plank and then dropped to the bottomless pit of the stage when the plank went vertical. I’m sure most people didn’t noticed as it’s such a small prop…

        As for the singers: D. Croft is very good and capable but to me, it’s not an exciting voice. I absolutely loved the Rhinemaidens in GD last season, which were better than last night’s trio as a group: Mumford, Caño and Morley. As for Margita, the very light and lyrical way he had actually reminded me a little bit of Vogt — anyone else hear that?????

        Also, is there a tradition of casting heldentenors (such as Jerusalem and Mark Baker) as Loge??????

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Set Svanholm is the Loge on the Solti Ring, which I’d always thought was about as traditional as it got, or seems that way all these years later.

          • Bianca Castafiore says:

            And now they are always sung by a Tamino-type, it seems…

          • Krunoslav says:

            Some past Taminos:

            Leo Slezak
            Johannes Sembach
            Richard Tucker
            Jacques Urlus
            Wolfgang Windgassen

            Everything is relative!

          • kashania says:

            Kruno: To be fair, Bianca said “Tamino-type” voices, not tenors who’ve sung the role. Slezak, Tucker and Windgassen’s aren’t anyone’s idea of a Tamino-type voice.

          • Krunoslav says:

            My point was that ides about what “Tamino-type: means can and do change. When Slezak sang Tamino at the Met, his Paminas were Emmy Destinn and Johanna Gadski.

  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    marssssshieeeee and Cammyushka!!!!!! Mille grazie for elucidating the climatic endings to the last scene in Siegfried and “Zu Neuen Taten” as well!!!!!! Mille baci!!!!!!

    • k0000 says:

      I don’t think Wagner gives any indications about the weather conditions in those “climaCtic” moments. And, for the record, it’s “ZuM neun Taten.”

      • m. croche says:

        No, it’s not.

        • CarlottaBorromeo says:

          In fact as Wagner employed rather archaic orthography (for idealogical and aesthetic reasons?) it is actually “Zu neuen Thaten”…

          • m. croche says:

            Though I have to say, I like the idea of Siegfried having to perform nine tasks. He outdoes the labors of Hercules by one!

          • Batty Masetto says:

            There are lots of weird archaisms in Wagner, but “Thaten” isn’t one of them. That spelling was entirely conventional in his day. The “h” wasn’t eliminated till the spelling reform of 1901.

          • CarlottaBorromeo says:

            I certainly claim no special expertise on German orthography but wouldn’t it be fair to characterise the reform of 1901 as the end of quite a long process rather than a date before which everybody did one thing and after which everybody did something else… So “Thaten” was at least old-fashioned, if not actually archaic!

            And of course that should have been “ideological”!!

          • Batty Masetto says:

            I don’t really think so, Carlotta. You’re right that it was a long process, but government offices, newspapers, scholarly articles and so forth continued to use the “Th” spellings very widely right up to 1900 -- I saw them all the time when I was doing research on late 19th century theater in Germany.

            And if we’re going to talk orthography-as-ideology (which I don’t really think is applicable in this case, but just for the sake of argument), the “T” spelling was Prussian, so the “Th” would conjecturally have been an indication of loyalty to the older, more loose-knit, more gemütlich, pre-Empire, less “Prussianized” Germany.

            But as I say, the “T” spelling was an innovation for many people, and “Th” would have been the completely natural choice for them. I doubt Wagner even gave it a second thought.

            Wikipedia has a long article on the 1901 Rechtschreibreform if you’re interested:

            http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthographische_Konferenz_von_1901

          • CarlottaBorromeo says:

            Batty -- I’m certainly not going to argue with you! I’m sure you are right.

            Thanks for the link -- one cannot imagine such a process ever happening in Britain!! (although something similar was done with Welsh orthography in the 1920s).

      • marshiemarkII says:

        k0000, pointing out obvious typos is a very lame exercise at parterre. We all make them! and all the time, especially now with the infernal auto-correct features. Now Bianca is a well respected parterrian both for her deep knowledge of opera as well as her excellent command of the language, so of course we all understood perfectly well what she meant, in addition to the contextual information implied by the rest of her perfectly well constructed sentence.

        Now you caro, before you point out an alleged libretto error, you would do well to consult with the score, or libretto, beforehand, in order not to make the delicious faux-pas you just made!

        As far as the difference between Taten and Thaten (my Schirmer vocal score has it as Thaten) I am never less than in awe of our resident German Scholar Batty, what a privilege to have him around! Again, the Parsifal discussions were precious!

        • k0000 says:

          I deserved that. Apologies.

        • Camille says:

          In the Peters Klavierauszug it is “Zu neuen Taten”. I just now checked mine to be 100% certain.

          MarschieIItm--I must say I am sorry if you felt I was trying to correct you in your effort to help Bianca with the understanding of which notes were what. It was not my intention. I just abhor notes being incorrectly identified, as I abhor flat singing, as I abhor the perception that every high note is a “High C”! In that particular instance, there was the matter of tonality that entered into the picture. So forgive me. My arrow was not aimed at my favourite BuBlerin[tm], but at a far-off goal.

          I AM an E-flat queen, as I got spoiled by hearing La Sutherland’s ear-splitting fabulous ones as a jungling.

          • m. croche says:

            The original E-flat queen:

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Mia Cara CammiB, let’s get this straight (? :-) ) right upfront, you NEVER have to apologize with me, as no matter what, I will always give you the benefit of the doubt ahead of time, because I know your heart is in the right place!!!!

            Now regarding that pesky A-flat, it’s the old problem, with a lot of us at parterre that we probably think faster than we write, and frequently do not do a little proof reading that could be so helpful :-)

            I had the score right in front of me, while I was writing, yes in E-flat Major! same as the sublime Eroica Symphony (Wagner never did anything haphazardly, right?) but I was too lazy to type “flat” right after the A. It’s that simple carisssssima. But perhaps it was the influence of not being an E-flat Queen? :-) :-) :-)

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Oh, and the BubLerin ™ is a masterpiece! I wonder if La C would allow me to change mon nom de plume? La BuBlerin would be ideal, no?

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Typo again: BuBlerin ™

        • Bianca Castafiore says:

          marshieeee, so kind of you but you know, I’m just someone who goes to the opera when I can, I certainly do not have the knowledge and education that so many other posters here have… so I do ask a lot of questions. Merci mille fois a tous for all your responses!!!!!!

  • damianjb1 says:

    Is Luana DeVol in there somewhere? Perhaps the one with the fearsome wobble?

  • The_Kid says:

    ok, last try:

    1- Birgit Nilsson
    2- Rita Hunter
    3- Jane Eaglen
    4- Julia Varady
    5- Gwyneth Jones
    6- Edda Moser
    7- Gertrud Kappel
    8- Gertrude Grob Prandl
    9- Helen Traubel
    10- Brigitte Hahn
    11- Marilyn Horne
    12- Germaine Lubin
    13- Montserrat Caballe
    14- Frida Leider
    15- Margaret Harshaw
    16- Marjorie Lawrence
    17- Eileen Farrell
    18- Astrid Varnay
    19- Ute Vinzing
    20- Kirsten Flagstad
    21- Anita Valkki
    22- Martha Modl
    23- Nanny Larsen-Todsen
    24- Inge Borkh

    • marshiemarkII says:

      That is interesting Kid, you posit that 23 is Nanny Larsen-Todsen instead of Gadski? It sure sounds different from the Gadski that Porgy posted, and it’s hard to imagine there would be two Immolations with Gadski surviving, but then I am not an expert on these singers….

  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    Cammilyona!!!!! What did tu diletto marito think of the Walküre last night?

    Maybe it was because I was rather tired when I got to the Met last night, but overall the evening was devoid of much magic or drama last night. At moments, it just dragged on and on, and I started to tune out, and I have seen the Lepage Ring twice before in the last 2 seasons.. The machine behaved, save the usual creaks and clangs, and no Windows logo was projected anywhere last night.

    I must say the proceedings were saved by the formidable Brünnhilde of Dalayman last night. I know many don’t give her the respect she deserves, but she poured out tons of emotion and volume last night, waking up the inertia of the performance. Perhaps the problem with Luisi is that he doesn’t really tend to whip up a lot of excitement, and mostly it’s all taken at a very languorous pace — Act I certainly dragged on and on. Dalayman’s voice is not deluxe and it’s an unruly one, but it’s a formidable one. Almost alone in the cast, she refused to let Luisi and the orchestra cover her up — when she needed to, she unleashed a wild, throbbing loud top. Her last phrase was delivered excitingly as she just let it rip (someone in the front orchestra started clapping as the music went on) Even better, she’s a committed and sympathetic actress — I was watching her the entire time, even in her silent acting, when Wotan and others were singing, such was her involvement with the character (she really listens to other characters, just watch her). She was the most compelling performer all night and deservedly, the center of this drama. (I saw it twice previously with Voigt and the contrast with Voigt’s bland and wooden acting could not be any starker — not to mention all of Debbie’s technical vocal troubles.)

    Blythe and Serafin were the next best ones after Dalayman. Blythe’s somewhat smoky foghorn voice reminded me at times of a very young Bumbry. Serafin is a tall, attractive figure on stage (she towered over Dalayman for sure), but Act I was disappointing as her voice was mostly pedestrian in quality and serviceable. Her top thins out under pressure and is not really memorable. She somewhat made me think of a poor man’s Westbroek, but without Eva-Maria’s rich, velvety tone. Simon O’Neill made a proper house debut as her brother, and ugh… a mostly unattractive, sour, curdled tone, often sounding like an old man (and made me think he should be singing Mime instead). I saw previously in this role Kauffman and Skelton, both very good for different reasons. Now, to be fair, they both improved significantly in Act II for sure, and certainly O’Neill’s tone improves at forte. Serafin also tried to not swallowed up by the orchestra and she mostly succeeded, which is more that could be said for O’Neill and Delavan. Also, she is a committed actress and certainly surpassed these two men in creating a solid portrayal. König was his usual solid villain (he’s the villain in all four operas this cycle).

    Delavan the previous night in Rheingold was obviously saving himself or Walküre, and he did pour out more volume and emotion, but still a rather ordinary performance (and also could not be heard a lot, when Luisi did not rein in the brasses).

    Anyway, I’m just grateful for Dalayman last night. The artists were unfort. cheated of a longer curtain call — I think due to the late hour, the house staff cut it off prematurely.

  • Etienne F. says:

    Last and final try:

    About singer #19
    After days of searching the internet I stumbled upon the following site:
    http://www.opera-club.net/release.asp?rel=388
    Now if you click on “Sound sample” on the right side of the screen en skip to 11:34 you will hear the passage where Bumbry sings Brünnhilde.
    Although this sample runs about a semi-tone lower than the one in the quiz, it is the same performance alright.

    1. Birgit Nilsson
    2. Rita Hunter
    3. Jane Eaglen
    4. Violeta Urmana
    5. Gwyneth Jones
    6. Edda Moser
    7. Marjorie Lawrence
    8. Gertrude Grob-Prandl
    9. Helen Traubel
    10. Berit Lindholm (Bayreuth early 70s?)
    11. Marilyn Horne
    12. Germaine Lubin
    13. Monserrat Caballe
    14. Frida Leider
    15. Margaret Harshaw
    16. Amy Shuard (London 1965?)
    17. Eileen Farrell (1961)
    18. Astrid Varnay
    19. Grace Bumbry
    20. Kirsten Flagstad
    21. Anita Välkki
    22. Martha Mödl
    23. Johanna Gadski
    24. Leonie Rysanek
    25. Matti Salminen

    Cheers

  • k0000 says:

    Although my list corresponds--with a few added details--to that of Etienne F. (May 7), all of my choices have been arrived at (or confirmed) independently of those of other posters. I’m assuming that any entry submitted before the deadline is still in the running.

    1. Birgit Nilsson
    2. Rita Hunter (London Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Mackerras, 1972)*
    3. Jane Eaglen
    4. Violeta Urmana
    5. Gwyneth Jones
    6. Edda Moser
    7. Marjorie Lawrence
    8. Gertrud Grob-Prandl
    9. Helen Traubel
    10. Berit Lindholm (London 1976?)
    11. Marilyn Horne
    12. Germaine Lubin
    13. Montserrat Caballe
    14. Frida Leider
    15. Margaret Harshaw
    16. Amy Shuard (Covent Garden 1965)
    17. Eileen Farrell
    18. Astrid Varnay
    19. Grace Bumbry
    20. Kirsten Flagstad
    21. Anita Välkki
    22. Martha Mödl
    23. Johanna Gadski
    24. Leonie Rysanek
    25. Matti Salminen

    *alternative for singer #2: Joanna Porackova
    —-
    If any of you who have been following this thread don’t know one classic account that didn’t make it into the select 24, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQMiCXkjWl8