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Pietà di me!

Perhaps, you, cher public, will be crying out the above-mentioned phrase when you hear the most recent vocal collage prepared by our dear DeCaffarrelli. It’s right after the jump.

Well, okay, a word of explanation first. This clip consists of 24 sopranos, each singing the final eight measures of Donna Anna’s second aria from Don Giovanni.

Your task is to identify as many Annas as possible, in the correct order, in the comments section. La Cieca will keep this competition open for 10 days, finishing on June 10 at midnight, and at that point, whichever commenter has identified correctly (and in the correct order, of course) the highest number of Donnas Anna will win a coveted Amazon Gift Card.

Ready to start listening, cher public?


  • stevey says:

    Ew. I can’t even pretend to enjoy this quiz…. I wish I could be enlightened and enjoy Mozart. The curse of being a philistine, I guess…

    Still, ‘some’ quiz is better than ‘no’ quiz and, in the hopes that this may help you all… here (apparently) are all the Donna Anna’s that have been committed to recorded memory. Mind you, this does not include all the various and sundry ladies who have performed this snippets of the role (God knows how many THAT would be…). Alas, these are just the ladies who- at some point in time- have sung the role in it’s entirety. Hope this helps!

    Rosa Ponselle
    Ina Souez
    Maria Reining
    Elisabeth Rethberg
    Anne Roselle
    Rose Bampton
    Zinka Milanov
    Marianne Schech
    Florence Kirk
    Regina Resnik
    Julia Osvath
    Clara Ebers
    Ljuba Welitsch
    Carla Castellani
    Gertrud Grob Prandl
    Annelies Kupper
    Dragica Martinis
    Birgit Nilsson
    Hilde Zadek
    Elisabeth Grummer
    Lois Hunt
    Mary Curtis-Verna
    Margaret Harshaw
    Lisa Della Casa
    Suzanne Danco
    Teresa Stich Randall
    Orietta Moscucci
    Sena Jurinac
    Elisabeth Kingdom
    Joan Sutherland
    Birgit Nilsson
    Clara Ebers
    Leontyne Price
    Claire Watson
    Hildegarde Hillebrecht
    Gerda Scheyrer
    Leyla Gencer
    Ingrid Bjoner
    Beverly SIlls
    Maria Matyas
    Celestina Casapietra
    Gundula Janowitz
    Aase Nordmo-Lovberg
    Edda Moser
    Martina Arroyo
    Margaret Price
    Eva Marton
    Gwyneth Jones
    Antigone Sgourda
    Ileana Sinnone
    Montserrat Caballe
    Rachel Mathes
    Anna Tomowa-Sintow
    Horiana Branisteanau
    Norma Sharp
    Ursula Koszut
    Luisa Bosabalian
    Katia Ricciarelli
    Eva Depoltova
    Carol Vaness
    Julia Visnaev
    Hildegard Behrens
    Julia Varady
    Edita Gruberova
    Helena Dose
    Ljuba Kazarnovskaya
    Winifred Faix-Brown
    Faye Robinson
    Nirvine Allouba
    Arleen Auger
    Dominique Labelle
    Cheryl Studer
    Jane Eaglen
    Francesca Pedaci
    Carolyn James
    Monica Pick-Hieronimi
    Marilyn Mims
    Nadezdha Petrenko
    Lella Cuberli
    Sharon Sweet
    Sona Ghazarian
    Amanda Halgrimson
    Luba Orgonasova
    Hillevi Martinpelto
    Elena Vink
    Michela Remor
    Christine Brewer
    Renee Fleming
    Yvonne Kenny
    Daniele Borst
    Carmela Remigio
    Mariella Devia
    Patrizia Pace
    Adrienne Pieczonka
    Elizabeth Magnuson
    Karita Matilla
    Klara Barlow
    Iano Tamar
    Majella Cullagh
    Dominique Labelle
    Isabel Rey
    Regina Schorg
    Alexandra Deshorties
    Anna Netrebko
    Maria Bayo
    Eva Mei
    Sondra Radvanovsky
    Christine Schafer
    Malin Bystrom
    Olga Pasiecznik
    Myrto Papatanasiou
    Pamela Armstrong
    Elza Van den Heever
    Marina Poplavskaya
    Krassimira Stoyanova
    Susanna Phillips
    Ricarda Merbeth
    Carla Caramujo
    Anna Laura Longo

    Are you confused yet? At first, armed with this knowledge, I thought I’d try and give it a whirl… then I realized that everybody sounded like Carmela Remigio, so I stopped and listened to Reimann’s ‘Lear’ for a while. Then I listened to this pirate I got my grubby hands on of Eva Marton singing ‘Forza’ from, like, 1980… my God, that woman had a voice. Anyway, I’m fine now…
    But… yeesh. That’s enough from me… if I hear one more woman begging me for pity, I’m going to lose it…
    Anyway, as I said- I hope this helps somebody!! Interested to hear how this all turns out! :-)

    My continued best wishes to all!

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      You’ve sort of started a whole new game in itself Stevey, of coming up with sopranos who have sung Donna Anna but are not on your list. You’ve made it more fun though, because it’s quite hard to check with the quasi-chronological order you’ve gone for, as opposed to alphabetical, unless one enjoys very close reading. I’ll start:

      Patrizia Ciofi.

      • marshiemarkII says:

        Great game Cocky, and most topically: Layla Claire of course, who sang it in Tanglewood when she was 22 yo with Levine, and has sung the arias in multiple concerts/recitals, even at the El Cairo Opera House :-)

      • stevey says:

        Thanks, Cocky! And hell, I’ll contribute to my failure!

        Alexandrina Pendatchanska
        Marina Rebeka

        Mind you, on my list I only named Donna Anna’s who had been RECORDED as singing the role… but, yeah, the three ladies above should have been included… (not sure, Marshie, if thus we can include the lovely Ms. Claire (pride of Penticton- charming town… anybody else been??) on this list. Is there a record of her Donna Anna lurking about somewhere, do you know?).

        How about it, gang… anybody else??

        • stevey says:

          Bonus points go to the first person who names the singer that I mentioned twice!!

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Another: Makvala Kasrashvili!

          I believe the whole role assumption is on YouTube from the ROH, with Dame Kiri as Elvira.

          • stevey says:

            Oh dear. I fear we’re getting into ‘Ofelia Hristova’ catagory…

            But, if that’s the case then I guess, yes, she SHOULD be included (because, God knows, there’s evidence of her assaying the role out there…). Thus, into our pantheon of Anna’s, let’s include:

            Makvala Kasrashvili
            Ofelia Hristova

            (Are you impressed, DeCaffarrelli? More, importantly, have all your ladies been mentioned here???)

            (And, on a separate-but related- note…. do I have too much time on my hands??? :-) )

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I’m just playing, partly because I’m so excited that I’ve managed to think a whole 2 (I’m rubbish at this kind of thing normally). But obviously the Kasrashvili performance was officially broadcast. I think she was a late replacement for somebody, possibly Margaret Price?

            Just you wait until Krunoslav sees this, he’ll have a list as long as his arm I’m sure :-)

          • manou says:

            OK -- I am not going to spoil the fun but would post the alphabetized list on request (unfortunately by first name though!).

          • armerjacquino says:

            Yeah, she was replacing Price. I was there, and she was booed- pretty much solely for not being Price.

          • Regina delle fate says:

            Yes Cocky -- Kasrashvili replaced Margaret Price who had become frightened of the role by then. She did another revival in her own right and was an excellent Vitellia in the old Anthony Besch Clemenza di Tito, possibly with Doris Soffel as Sesto….

        • marshiemarkII says:

          Stevey there was a gorgeous Non mi dir from the El Cairo Opera House with Layla on YT but I just looked and couldn’t find it. The Tanglewood I don’t know, but it probably was recorded, it was Levine after all. But I get your point though :-)

        • peter says:

          Gladys Kuchta.

        • Buster says:

          Both Christines, Brewer and Goerke. Anna Samuil.

      • Batty Masetto says:

        An Anna who sang Anna:

        Anna Moffo

        Annas who didn’t sing Anna:

        1. Anna Caterina Antonacci
        2. Anna Gabler
        3. Anna Maria Alberghetti
        4. Anna Pavlova
        5. Anna Russell
        6. Anna May Wong
        7. Anna Magnani
        8. Anna Akhmatova
        9. Anna Wintour
        10. Anna Nicole Smith
        11. Anna Karina
        12. Anna Karenina
        13. Anna Freud
        14. Anna Kournikova
        15. Anna Bolena
        16. Anna Leonowens
        17. Doris Lessing
        18. Rose-anna Roseannadanna
        19. Santa Anna
        20. Anna Morphic
        21. Anna Lytical
        22. Anna Phylactic
        23. Anna Merican Tragedy
        24. Anna Partridge Inna Peartree

        • Krunoslav says:

          Did Anna Moffo ever venture Donna Anna ( or Elvira) on a stage? Dove? Quanto?

          A few more:

          Ana (!) Gloria Vasquez
          Margarita Castro-Alberty
          Rebecca Cook
          Marilyn Mims
          Maria Kanyova
          Wendy Nielsen
          Alexandra Deshorties
          Christina Pier
          Tamar Iveri
          Lilia Larionova
          Carolyn Worra
          Joana Gedmintaite
          Sally Wolf
          Olga Pasichnyk
          Mardi Byers
          Stefania Dovhan
          Susanna Philips
          Mytro Paptanasiu
          Lina Aleksanyan
          Barbara Frittoli
          Sondra Radvanovsky

          • armerjacquino says:

            A couple of duplicates there, I think.

            Did Dessi never sing Anna?

            While I remember, Eaglen certainly did.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Moffo’s an odd one, isn’t it, Kruno? It says on her Italian Wikipedia page that Donna Anna was in her repertory, but I can’t find any sign of even an aria recording.

          • Sanford says:

            I wish that Moffo had recorded either DOnna ANna or Elvira. And she also would have been Countess in Nozze. And COstanza (she recorded a glorious Ach, Ibt Liebte) and Fiordiligi. And Pamina.

      • Bill says:

        Irmgard Seefried sang Donna Anna in 1940
        in a series of performances in Aachen under
        Herbert von Karajan. Later she moved to
        Zerlina which she felt was more suitable
        for her voice. She has written that she
        was frequently asked to switch from Zerlina to Donna Elvira but stayed with Zerlina for the
        bulk of her career.

    • Buster says:

      Wow -- a few more unexpected Annas here:


    • la vociaccia says:

      Ahem. Elinor Ross. Also Julianna di giacomo

    • DeCaffarrelli says:

      Laura Aikin sang a really marvelous Donna Anna at the Mostly Mozart Festival in 2011.


    • The_Kid says:

      more unlisted annas (i LOVE this game…)!

      Angeles Blancas
      Maria Lyudko
      Marina Krilovici
      Maria Cebotari
      Emmy Destinn

      • The_Kid says:


        Mimi Coertze
        Christel Goltz
        Hasmik Papian

        • Krunoslav says:

          Complete Met Anna history:

          Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Arroyo, Martina]
          14 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Bampton, Rose]
          2 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Barlow, Klara]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Behrens, Hildegard]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Bjoner, Ingrid]
          7 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Carden, Joan]
          2 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Castro-Alberty, Margarita]
          3 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Corona, Leonora]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Curtin, Phyllis]
          7 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Curtis-Verna, Mary]
          7 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Deshorties, Alexandra]
          3 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Deutekom, Cristina]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Drog, Libia]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Eaglen, Jane]
          5 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Eames, Emma]
          8 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Fleming, Renee]
          6 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Frittoli, Barbara]
          12 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Fursch-Madi, Emmy]
          5 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Giannini, Dusolina]
          21 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Harshaw, Margaret]
          8 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Harteros, Anja]
          11 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Iveri, Tamar]
          22 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [James, Carolyn]
          3 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Kalil, Margaret]
          6 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Kirk, Florence]
          2 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Kuchta, Gladys]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Lablache, Emily]
          13 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Lehmann, Lilli]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Litvinne, Felia]
          6 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Mathes, Rachel]
          10 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Meier, Johanna]
          20 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Milanov, Zinka]
          8 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Mims, Marilyn]
          48 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Moser, Edda]
          5 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Nelli, Herva]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Netrebko, Anna]
          30 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Nordica, Lillian]
          8 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Phillips, Susanna]
          15 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Ponselle, Rosa]
          21 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Price, Leontyne]
          7 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Radvanovsky, Sondra]
          17 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Rebeka, Marina]
          6 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Resnik, Regina]
          2 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Rethberg, Elisabeth]
          6 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Riedel, Deborah]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Robinson, Anna]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Ross, Elinor]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Ross, Elinor] Act I
          2 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Schroeder-Hanfstaengl, Marie]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Sills, Beverly]
          36 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Steber, Eleanor]
          16 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Stich-Randall, Teresa]
          5 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Stoyanova, Krassimira]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Strong, Susan]
          12 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Studer, Cheryl]
          12 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Sutherland, Joan]
          8 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Sweet, Sharon]
          3 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Tavary, Marie]
          3 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Tomowa-Sintow, Anna]
          10 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Vaness, Carol]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Wall, Erin]
          1 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Weed, Marion]
          12 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Welitsch, Ljuba]
          4 Don Giovanni: Donna Anna [Zadek, Hilde]

          • Krunoslav says:

            Make that 8 Annas for Miss Arroyo…

            Odd that NO ONE thought of Anna Robinson or Marie Schroeder-Hanfstaengl… :)

          • Rowna says:

            Couldn’t believe Sills sang Anna at the Met so I looked it up -- 1966 at Lewisohn Stadium. The Met data base is like an encyclopedia for trivia. I love it!

    • laddie says:

      Patricia Petibon

      • marshiemarkII says:

        how about Olga Peretyatko, no one has mentioned her yet, and I think she is on the list, just can’t keep track where anymore

  • peter says:

    The first 7 ladies:

    1. Steber
    2. Caballe
    3. Milanov
    4. M. Price
    5. G. Jones
    6. Netrebko
    7. Kuchta

    • kashania says:

      I’m still leaning toward Arroyo for no. 2 though Caballe is a distinct possibility. The tonal quality is more Arroyo to me.

      • peter says:

        Kashie, the breath control is definitely Caballe along with the sloppiness of her diction but the recording isn’t very clear so it’s very hard to tell.

        I’m having problems identifying the selections attributed to Sutherland, Sills and Nilsson. The only thing that sounds like Sills is the mechanical sounding trill but again, the recordings are very muffled.

        This is definitely the hardest quiz because the tessitura is very high in these final phrases. It’s always easier to identify a singer lower down in their range.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        I simply can’t plough through all 24 so won’t be taking part, and wouldn’t be a contender anyway, but I will just chip in here to say I’m absolutely certain number 2 is Caballe, Kashania. Timbre aside, It is replete with her mannerisms, even more specifically her not-in-the-zone mannerisms. She could have sung this passage a hell of a lot better than it sounds here, if in the right mood, but she often wasn’t, as we know.

        I’ve never heard Arroyo in Mozart but if it has the same, unflustered, completely secure quality that her Verdi has, I’d expect something better sustained here from her, with a broader sweep in the line and the timbre itself.

        • kashania says:

          I’ll trust your observations about the singing. And as Peter has said, the recording quality isn’t good so it’s hard to judge by tonal quality alone.

    • doktorlehar says:

      OMG that is indeed Gladys Kuchta!

      • doktorlehar says:

        I hear Sutherland and Sills, but I don’t hear Nilsson. That isn’t to say that she’s not there . . .

        • kashania says:

          Most people are saying that Nilsson is #14 but I’m certain that one’s Wellitsch. I don’t hear Nilsson in there either (and hers is one of the most recognisable of all voices).

  • Hippolyte says:

    Lois Hunt (of Earl Wrightson and Lois Hunt) sang Donna Anna??

    I have recordings of the complete Donna Annas of Diana Damrau, Patricia Petibon (why??) and Barbara Frittoli (none of whom made the list). Sandrine Piau has also sung the role but I’ve never seen a recording of that production.

    Anna Moffo??

  • Sanford says:

    Call me crazy, but I didn’t hear Sills, SUtherland, or Caballe.

    • laddie says:

      That rubbery trill by Sills is a dead giveaway.

    • Rowna says:

      I HEARD Sutherland then she disappeared when I listened a second time. I could only listen twice as even the first time I almost lost my mind keeping track of which number I was on. On the whole, most of them sounded like Edda Moser, give or take a few exceptions. Janowitz, L Price and Sills were very identifiable to me. Of course, when the results come out, I will probably be wrong on all.

  • peter says:

    My stab at the 24 Donna Annas:

    1. Steber
    2. Caballe
    3. Milanov
    4. M. Price
    5. G. Jones
    6. Netrebko
    7. Kuchta
    8. Bampton?
    9. Janowitz
    16.L. Price

  • stevey says:

    Right behind you, Peter! :-)

    I decided I wanted to play too (I do love these things… not necessarily GOOD at them, but that’s a minor detail. I have wine. (lol))

    This is more Mozart than I’ve ever wanted to listen to, but, through determination (read: a FRIGHTENING degree of obsessiveness), here’s what I came up with:

    1. Eleanor Steber
    2. Montserrat Caballe
    3. Zinka Milanov
    4. Margaret Price
    5. Gwyneth Jones
    6. Anna Netrebko
    7. Gladys Kuchta
    8. Elisabeth Rethberg
    9. Gundula Janowitz
    10. Adrienne Pieczonka
    11. Sondra Radvanovsky
    12. Birgit Nilsson
    13. Beverly Sills
    14. Ljuba Welitsch
    15. Marina Rebeka
    16. Leontyne Price
    17. Carol Vaness
    18. Cristina Deutekom
    19. Karita Mattila
    20. Simone Kermes
    21. Joan Sutherland
    22. Elisabeth Grümmer
    23. Rose Bampton
    24. Teresa Stich-Randall

    The one that’s driving me ABSOLUTELY STARK RAVING MAD… is #10 (I put down Pieczonka for reasons unbeknownst even to myself…). For the life of me, I just can’t place that voice (I’ve been trying for the last three hours. The horse is LONG dead!)

    My greetings to everybody! And thanks again La C and DeCaffarrelli for another one of these fabulous quizzes. :-)

  • DeCaffarrelli says:

    Fewer than 48 hours remain to submit answers to the “Pieta di me” quiz which ends at 11:59PM, Monday June 10. More than a couple of the clips remain misidentified, including one attribution that was made at the very beginning and has stayed incorrect ever since. Thanks to the recent flurry of postings of lists of Donna Annas, all 24 correct names have appeared somewhere in this thread, although not necessarily as proposed answers. I encourage the intrepid to keep at it.

    I would like to thank LaCieca for her benevolence in allowing me to put together a few of these quizzes: as one might expect, there are enormous fun. However, I would like to ask for some feedback. LaC was supportive when I proposed this quiz which presents a variety of singers in the same passage rather than the usual format of an entire aria. I loved comparing the different approaches but perhaps others prefer the old way? I have been gathering materials for a Verdi and a Wagner quiz for the future and wondered how people felt about the two methods. Thanks everyone for participating!

    • Buster says:

      Listening to the same passage had a hallucinating effect on the one hand, but was extremely instructive on the other. Either way, thanks a lot for all the good work!

    • Rowna says:

      The hardest part is keeping track of the number. Since I can’t remember what I did yesterday, as I wrote down the numbers I wasn’t sure if they were for the “new” clip or the next -- hence I had 25 entrants. (Do I get an extra credit for finding one more soprano?) My suggestion for people like me, is to keep the list a tad shorter. But Mr. D -- Bravo! So much fun!

    • peter says:

      DeCaffarrelli, I find this method a little easier than the other one. You can listen to one section and then play it over again immediately afterwards. You can also skip through the sections until you find a singer who you had difficulty with the first time. It’s also fascinating to compare several singers singing the same phrase.

    • stevey says:

      DeCaffarrelli, thank you so much for these wonderful, wonderful quizzes- they’re the perfect mix of fun, challenging, and infuriating! I’ve loved every single one of them, and eagerly await whatever others you may have in stock for us. Either way- thank you for such fun, enlightening, and stimulating times.

      If you ask me, each of these two quiz-ways has it’s advantages, and each it’s faults and liabilities- this latest way enables us to compare and contrast the same passages, which in my opinion makes it easier to identify the singers. One can just come up with as comprehensive a list of possible singers that one can think of, and then either circle or cross of viable suspects as one goes through each individual musical selection. While the repetition of listening to the SAME passage over and over can be either monotonous, maddening, hypnotizing, or confusing… it also (I think) can make us more sensitive and acute to the little idiosyncrasies and differences in delivery that exist that will help us to identify each singer correctly, so it balances out! I think this first selection you’ve given us worked perfectly, too in that- because of it’s difficulty (that rapid coloratura)- there were greater opportunities for each singer to express herself to us simply by doing whatever it is she can to get through the aria (Caballe’s smudged coloratura, Sills’s trill, Janowitz’s ‘white’ tone, etc.). I think as long as the selection that you’re giving us is still stimulating and interesting to hear- even 24 times- (off the top of my head, I’m thinking Turandot’s initial high B in ‘In questa reggia’ on “quel grido”. I’d NEVER get tired of hearing that one!!), I think it’s a great way to present a quiz.

      The other, ‘original’ way I find to be more difficult, but not that that makes it necessarily any more (or less) enjoyable. If the passage one hopes to identify is to your ear a ‘non-starter’ (nothing really note-worthy that you can discern, no word or note that departs to the listener any particular individuality) than one is more or less screwed. It is neat hearing all those voices and pieces putting together the complete aria, though. “FrankenAria”, if you will! So if you ask me, not ‘better’, definitely- just different.

      One thing that I think we’re all noticing now that the answers have been given, however, is that this ‘new’ way is much more enjoyable to go BACK, and listen and compare! It’s been wonderful going back, realizing who I was ‘right’ about, who I ‘liked’, who ‘surprised’ me, and who I had no clue on! This latest way is certainly much more conducive to enjoyable ‘post-mortem-ing’, if you will!

      Either way, we’re lucky to have them, and you. Thanks again very much, and my best wishes to you, as ever! :-)

  • Buster says:

    Well done, Stevey, congratulations. Claire Watson is the big surprise here, just amazing.