Cher Public

They’re only in it for the do

What with all the interest in the recent Rome performances of Aïda (and in part, at least, in Anja Harteros‘s approach to the high C in the Nile aria), La Cieca thought it would be fun to hear how some divas of the past and present have coped with that very challenging phrase. And, just for funsies, she decided to make it into a competition in which you can participate after the jump.  

The following sound clip (devised by the ever-meticulous Christopher Corwin) consists of a veritable gamut of sopranos, 20 of them in fact, attempting the great arching phrase at the climax of “O patria mia.” Your task, cher public, will be to name the artists in the comments section. The first parterrian to name all 20 in the correct order (or, should no one accomplish this feat, the commenter who identifies the most correctly at the time the contest ends) will win the prize of a coveted Amazon Gift Card in the amount of $100.00.. The closing date is Thursday, March 12, 2015 at midnight.  

In case of a tie, the earliest timestamped of the tying comments will be declared the winner. All decisions will be made by La Cieca, which I don’t think I need to tell you implies finality.

Ready? Start listening!

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    I’m quite sure I heard Welitsch in there somewhere…

  • luvtennis

    Even the sopranos who get the note.on pitch manage to lose poise in the final phrases -- usually by rushing. And many are very loud….

  • If I read this correctly, JK has cancelled out of Cavelleria Rusticana at La Scala to “rest and be closer to his family”???

    http://www.ansa.it/lombardia/notizie/2015/03/05/scala-forfait-kaufmann-per-cavalleria_5b50de21-25ad-4dc7-982a-1cc86eb31191.html

    • manou

      “Restare….vicino alla sua famiglia” means “to stay near his family” -- no rest involved.

      There will be a recital instead on June 14.

      • Cicciabella

        Restare vicino alla famiglia e tutto il resto è noia.

        • DellaCasaFan

          Google Translate is priceless:

          “Staying close to family and everything else is boring.”

          • Lohengrin

            “…..to the need to remain, at that time, close to his family.”
            It meens, he has to be there for a family-reason, whatever this might be.

            • DellaCasaFan

              Thank you, Lohengrin. I had some guesses about it, but always love to check Google’s silly translating twists. It brightens up the day. :-)

            • manou

              DeCaFa -- that is the exact translation of Ciccia’s post -- which is not in the original article.

            • DellaCasaFan

              Ooohh, thank you, manou. My Italian is *very* limited, I know it only from some librettos. And apologies to Google translating services :-)

            • manou

              Google Translate is always a joy.

            • Feldmarschallin

              I wonder how La Scala feels that Jonas will not be resting in München but travelling to Japan for concerts during the time he would have been at La Scala.

            • Lohengrin

              Japan is before La Scala; in the periode he had a “vacation”, where now the compensation for last October is placed. He had cancelled Japan three times the last years………..

            • Cicciabella

              Obviously Kaufmann has no time to rehearse any Turiddus because he’ll be spending his time with La Fanciulla del Rest.

            • John L

              Why is he soo overbooked? With so little wiggle room. Look at his committments: http://www.operabase.com/a/Jonas_Kaufmann/8685.

              Does any other major singer have the same number of staged operas or recitals as he does?

              I guess I can see why he’s complaining about performances being contracted 5 years in advance, when he’s rather secure now, can definitely pick and choose, and is trying to wiggle out of committments he likes less for either personal reasons or just over-singing.

            • Camille

              Cicciabella, just wanted you to know how much appreciated was your sly “Fanciulla del Rest’, just so’s you know. Dank U.

            • Cicciabella

              Thank you, dear Camille.

          • Edward George

            La Scala offers its own translation:

            http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/opera-ballet/2014-2015/cavalleria-rusticana.html

            “At the beginning of this Season Jonas Kaufmann asked the possibility to withdraw from Cavalleria rusticana on stage in June 2015.
            The request was based on his willingness to stay close to his family. La Scala has finally accepted his request.”

            Perhaps his family will be going with him to Japan?

            • moi

              When he cancelled the Verdi Requiem last october, an italian ‘opera insider’ wrote,
              that it was all about the FEEE, and swore that sooner or later the Turiddu non-appearence would be announced.
              Here everybody seems to be angry at Pereira for this.

            • Lohengrin

              As a sort of “compensation” nhe jumped in to Fidelio!

        • manou

          Tutto nel mondo è burla.

    • Cicciabella

      José Cura on stand-by.

      • Camille

        “José Cura is on stand-by”:

        Yes, it sure looks and sounds like he is “on” something….

        Parterrians please—persevere to the bitter end of the second request, the “Nessun Dorma”, for which you shall be amply compensated.

        (Elena sure seems to like him. Guess he must have played a strapping Samson to her dangerous Dalila back in the day.).

        • Camille

          Yes, the parterrian goodness commences at about 6:30 and lasts until 7:00.

        • kennedet

          This is a perfect example of the wobble if anyone is confused. “Do not try this at home”.
          It almost out ranks Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion when he sings “If I were the King of the Forest” in The Wizard of Oz. It’s too sad. I always thought his sound was too muscular and burly.

    • I looked a the cast list:
      Mama Lucia: Mara Zapmieri!

  • senafan

    My favorite: #12. The only one I”m sure about is #10, Welitsch, rushing like mad because she knows she is not going to make it otherwise. I think #17 is Price (Leontyne — did Margaret Price ever do Aida?). Was sorry you did not include Jurinac because I love the way she sings this in her one recorded foray, but she never did it in the theater so I understand why.
    #9… oy!

    • luvtennis

      Margaret Price sang Aida. There is a DVD from SF with Pavarotti and Estes. Lee sang some of the performance.. Pavarotti was quoted as saying ofLeontyne that “a miracle -- no one can believe how great she was.” This was 1981.

      I don’t hear Leontyne anywhere in the contest selections. I assume it would have been too obvious. She relished the aria. Most everyone else seems to survive it. Or not sadly.

      • luvtennis

        Sang some of the performances! No tag teaming. ????

      • Krunoslav

        Forgive my useless brain cell expenditure, and NO ONE need be impressed, but Leontyne sang just one of those shows. I was in the West Bay at the time and they announced her subbing on the radio but by the time I got to the opera house it was way sold out.

        Leontyne memorably congratulated Adler on the record “on getting a chocolate as well as a vanilla Price”.

        That was actually the only time that the two LPs sang a staged performance together.

        • luvtennis

          To which Maggie replied -- “so there’s ice cream?”

        • Enzo Bordello

          Krunoslav: Not correct. Leontyne Price and Luciano Pavarotti sang staged performances of IL TROVATORE together at the Wiener Staatsoper back in 1977. Herbert Von Karajan was the conductor.

          • Krunoslav

            Ah, that was the publicity given out, but perhaps then it was the only time IN THE UNITED STATES that they sang together.

            • manou

              “…the only time IN THE UNITED STATES…” and therefore the only time THAT COUNTS.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Manou that Wiener Staatsoper gig with Karajan didn’t count since it wasn’t the Met. You should know that by now. That recording has been available for years btw.

            • Krunoslav

              ““…the only time IN THE UNITED STATES…” and therefore the only time THAT COUNTS.”

              I knew that *someone* here would be bitchy and petty enough to go there, it was just a question of who.

              I was 21 when I saw the M. Price/Pav AIDA ( and didn’t get to see the L. Price/Pav iteration) and not quite the maven I was to , for better or worse, become.

              So that if I bought the publicity angle given this event at the time, well, SUE ME. I actually have seen opera in many countries from childhood on and will just not cop to a Metcentric view of things that’s being implied here. But nice to see that Feldie took the point of my criticism of HIS parochialism.

              Have a nice day.

            • manou

              …”bitchy and petty”... Yup -- that’s me in a nutshell.

              Well spotted.

            • Krunoslav

              I wouldn’t know, since I have no idea who you are,but that is the tone of your ‘riposte’.

            • semira mide

              In general I only defend Rossini here, but if Manou is “bitchy and petty” what hope is there for those of us less gracious and clever than her?

            • marshiemarkII

              manou is the doyenne of elegant wit and erudition. I never fail to follow her nametag because behind it there is ALWAYS some clever surprise. We all LOVE her, and for a long time!

            • manou

              semira mide and marshie -- you are too kind.

              I find it useful to remember this: “If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.”

          • Feldmarschallin

            I even have a recording of that Trovatore from Wien.

      • moi

        In the french Opera Magazine, many moons ago…
        Pavarotti remembered singing Radames with the two Prices… one, he stated was a fuoriclasse (leontyne)
        and the other a perfecly decent singer (maggie).
        But I know that Margaret Price has a high esteem among singers

        • Krunoslav

          Margaret Price was a great Mozartean and a wonderful Desdemona, Elisabetta di Valois and Amelia Grimaldi. As Aida, she was orderly and pleasant-voiced, but not convincing as to style or character. Glad I heard it though, otherwise I heard her only in concert.

          • Though it was only a thing of the studio, I love her Isolde with Kleiber.

            • armerjacquino

              I saw and heard her as Amelia in BALLO. Vocally she sounded every bit as wonderful as she did in the studio for Solti. We’ll draw a veil over the acting.

            • marshiemarkII

              The Desdemona with the Paris Opera and Solti at the Met was quite one of the most unforgettable night I’ve ever had at the opera, the beauty and the size of the instrument were something to behold, in the concertato she was louder than the entire orchestra and chorus at full tilt!!!!!!! and what sounds, pure golden molten grandest Verdian Line glory! I remember telling my seat partner, it’s what Caballe would sound like if she were generous all the time!
              Until today I still remember the waves of sound emanating from the Met stage. Then I saw her last performance as Contessa Almaviva at the Met in 1994, and best left unsaid, but THAT Desdemona!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
              I obviously think that the greatest Luci had it exactly backwards!!!!!! Being one of the greatest tenors of all time does NOT imply being the greatest judge of others’ talent, especially when you are also angling for the perfect soundbite in Pindoland…..

            • MMII -- Again too much to be a coincidence -- but I heard that performance as well and remember it vividly. Her voice was much bigger than I had expected from hearing her Mozart arias album.

              Ma cosa intendi “seatmate” -- were you sitting on someone’s lap? :twisted:

            • marshiemarkII

              But of course carisssissimo Lurquie, she was a comely gurl in those daze :lol:

              Seriously though, yesssss the size of the voice!!!! It was Cossutta and Bacquier who are [were] hardly small, but I had a terrible seat under the overhang in the orchestra, and everything sounded muted, as to be expected But then she opened her mouth, and the gates of heaven opened up instantly. I was a HUGE Caballe Q in those days, and had had good and bad experiences with her already, and here comes a voice just as beautiful, but with REAL power!!!!!!!! she was simply AMAZING!!!!

  • umangialaio

    Maybe they just put his name on the billboard to lure subscribers.

    U

  • quibbleglib

    So what’s everyone’s vote? Will Kaufmann sing Saturday? Will the Met announce his cancellation today? Or will it be an 11th hour deal where we don’t find out until 1pm Saturday?

    • Rackon

      I vote “no”. He’d have to travel today. With rehearsals for Cav/Page coming up I think he won’t risk it for one show. Sorry for my friends in NYC with tickets.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well he could leave tomorrow and come back on Sunday but I doubt that. There are also no direct flights to Salzburg from New York. I think he cancelled already and the theater is doing what the theaters love to do but wait. Wien did it with Harteros and I bet La Scala knew also a while back already that he wouldn’t be singing those Turiddos. How long did it take Wien to announce that Don Carlos cancellation? 6 months or more I think.

        • Lohengrin

          La Scala has already announced, that JK has ask to cancel his contract AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON!!!!
          It is incrediblem what the opera-houses do with the audience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          “Jonas Kaufmann rinuncia a Cavalleria ma canta in concerto alla Scala
          All’inizio della stagione in corso Jonas Kaufmann ha chiesto al Teatro alla Scala di poter rinunciare alle recite di Cavalleria rusticana programmate per giugno 2015.
          Tale richiesta si basava sulla necessità per Jonas Kaufmann di restare, in quel periodo, vicino alla sua famiglia: una motivazione privata che abbiamo infine accolto.
          Abbiamo cercato di trovare un’alternativa per garantire la presenza dell’artista alla Scala.
          Siamo quindi lieti di poter annunciare Jonas Kaufmann in un concerto di arie d’opera con la Filarmonica della Scala diretta da Jochen Rieder domenica 14 giugno 2015 alle ore 20. Il programma sarà comunicato a breve.”

  • messa di voce

    The complete plotz at 6:30 sounds like Urmana in her last go-round at the Met.

    • Milady DeWinter

      Yes, That’s my vote messa-

    • marshiemarkII

      I was ready to believe 100% it was the foul Urmana, until I decided to hear for myself it it was true, and to my surprise, the foul Urmana actually sings a decent enough, certainly musically long enough C in the only YT available of her. This is such a travesty that now I MUST know who that it, because it is truly special :lol: so Qs please hurry to identify, I must know that party tape fully identified, and since I hadn’t seen Aida since Price’s farewell in 1985 I am not that up on the famous Aidas.
      I do agree though that it is one glorious line!!!!!!!
      on a par with Quanto mi costi…

      • marshiemarkII

        typos ugggh
        myself iF it was true
        know who that iS

        My adoree Milady you must be the gurl who puts me out of my incertezza, who IS that?!?!??!?!?

    • Camille

      No, that trainwreck’s name was GHENA.

      She switched to Amneris, thank g-d.

      • LT

        This is from Scala where she alternated between Aida and Amneris in the fame run.

        • LT

          Same*

      • Milady DeWinter

        Agreed cara Marshie et Camille -- not Urmana, it’s the Ghena (who I saw when she first “hit” big stateside, as Santuzza and Turandot -- a wow, but you could sense that the clock was ticking.) And I’m so surprised that her Amneris some time later when she started to zwischen was such a dud, imo.

  • stevey

    Okay, I’m going to give this another try…:

    1) Lucine Amara
    2) Mirella Freni
    3) Sondra Radvanovsky
    4) Rosa Ponselle
    5) Leonie Rysanek
    6) Latonia Moore
    7) Nina Stemme
    8) ??
    9) Ghena Dimitrova
    10) ??
    11) ??
    12) Julia Varady
    13) Ljuba Welitsch
    14) Shirley Verrett
    15) Montserrat Caballe
    16) Anna Tomowa-Sintow
    17) Marisa Galvany
    18) ??
    19) ??
    20) Mara Zampieri

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with more I just have to be a little more obsessive about it (if that’s, in fact, possible (lol))

    But aren’t these things fun??? :-)

    With my best wishes to all…

  • stevey

    Okay, more obsessiveness here…:

    1) Lucine Amara
    2) Mirella Freni
    3) Sondra Radvanovsky
    4) Astrid Varnay
    5) Leonie Rysanek
    6) Latonia Moore
    7) Nina Stemme
    8) Maria Chiara
    9) Ghena Dimitrova
    10) Ljuba Welitsch
    11) Stella Roman
    12) Julia Varady
    13) Sena Jurinac
    14) Shirley Verrett
    15) Montserrat Caballe
    16) Anna Tomowa-Sintow
    17) Marisa Galvany
    18) ?? (somebody REEEE-ally flat!!)
    19) Galina Vishnevskaya
    20) Mara Zampieri

    • Camille

      Oh jeez—I fergot all about Maria Chiara and I saw her on TV somewhere, too. She wS “THE” Aïda of the mid-eighties for a while.

      Good catch, steverino, hoping you win. You were smart to catch Varnay and another one, too, who shall remain nameless.

      You see, OCD is good for something!

    • Camille

      Stevey--no. 18 is singing down a half step so that is a B (or H) you are hearing there. I am pretty sure I know who it is, too. If you think some more, you may get it.

      • stevey

        Cammie, I LOVE puzzles, and you’ve given me a humdinger! I’m going to repeat my list here, with the necessary corrections!:

        1) Lucine Amara
        2) Mirella Freni
        3) Sondra Radvanovsky
        4) Astrid Varnay
        5) Leonie Rysanek
        6) Latonia Moore
        7) Nina Stemme
        8) Maria Chiara
        9) Ghena Dimitrova
        10) Ljuba Welitsch
        11) Stella Roman
        12) Julia Varady
        13) Sena Jurinac
        14) Shirley Verrett
        15) Montserrat Caballe
        16) Anna Tomowa-Sintow
        17) Marisa Galvany
        18) Zinka Milanov
        19) Galina Vishnevskaya
        20) Mara Zampieri

        If correct, then I actually owe La Cieca and Parterre.com a round of thanks for coming up with La Milanov for that number 18, which had previously so befuddled me. Here is the link, scroll down to the bottom for La Cieca’s comments:

        https://parterre.com/2005/10/07/non-piu-olga/comment-page-1/

        And my best wishes to you, Camille! I hope and trust that you and yours are well and happy. xo :-)

    • marshiemarkII

      Carisssssimo stevey you are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow what encyclopedia you are!
      OK first it is incredible but not surprising that the great Ghena is the main offender, after those spectacular Macbeths in Verona she showed up at the Met (albeit 5 years later) for the second cast of Turandot and there was a glass ceiling that she could not overcome past like a G :lol:

      CammiB! I am not sure if Chiara was “the” Aida in the 80s, but she was certainly a famous one, and I saw her in Verona also, and she was quite wonderful, tiny but really wonderful, and yet I must have been carried away by the surroundings, but this snippet is not wonderful at all!
      And last, was there ever anything more glorious than Montserrat Caballe?!?!!?!?!?!??! her command of portamento in the descending phrase is simply a masterclass! I assume it is from that divine Muti recording?! that oh patria quanto mi costi has got to be one of the all time highlights in opera, no? in fact the recording is probably the greatest Aida all around, the greatest Flo, the greatest Capuccilli, if only it had been the greatest Jon.
      Speaking of portamento, the Amara snippet (if that is who it is) is so beautifully phrased, she really was a great artist also, right?

      • Porgy Amor

        I am not sure if Chiara was “the” Aida in the 80s, but she was certainly a famous one, and I saw her in Verona also, and she was quite wonderful, tiny but really wonderful, and yet I must have been carried away by the surroundings, but this snippet is not wonderful at all!

        That Chiara Verona ’81 performance on DVD with Cossotto and Martinucci is one of my favorite complete performances of the opera. No, not the biggest, grandest voice ever to sing this role, but full of interesting colors and an intelligent, sensitive interpretation in which all the familiar predicaments and dilemmas seem experienced and lived. And when you sit for two and half hours for the whole thing, isn’t that what one wants most?

        And last, was there ever anything more glorious than Montserrat Caballe?!?!!?!?!?!??! her command of portamento in the descending phrase is simply a masterclass! I assume it is from that divine Muti recording

        I feel confident in saying that what we hear of Caballé here is not from the Muti recording (which, for me, is the best recording ever made of this opera under studio conditions). It must be a live performance from sometime, somewhere. She definitely does not fudge the note values on EMI.

        • Milady DeWinter

          “I feel confident in saying that what we hear of Caballé here is not from the Muti recording…”
          --correct, Porgy. In the Aida quiz, the prompter should get equal billing with Montsy.

    • Rowna

      fill in 18 with Renata Tebaldi and let’s split the Amazon card. I will take $1 thank you hehe. Rowna

      • Milady DeWinter

        Rowna knows!

        • DellaCasaFan

          Milady knows it too! You picked Tebaldi for #18 earlier today.

  • Milady DeWinter

    Now permanently tuned to F major, I must leap from the Aida boat and stop obsessing, not that I don’t enjoy obsessing over high notes. It’s a calling.
    I look forward to the many astute, clever, and informative comments and observations when the divas are revealed.
    For what it’s worth, tough and fun)as this was, #8 and #19 are the ones that had me doing the ‘Joan Crawford stride ‘n’ smoke’.

    I know for certain that I will have some Homer Simpson “D’oh” slaps to the head next week, but here are my official decisions:

    1) Amara

    2) Freni

    3) Radvanovsky

    4) Varnay

    5) Rysanek

    6) Moore

    7) Stemme

    8) Chiara

    9) Dimitrova

    10) Welitsch

    11) Cruz-Romo

    12) Varady

    13) Nilsson

    14) Verrett

    15) Caballe

    16) Tomowa-Sintow

    17) Galvany

    18) Tebaldi

    19) Vishnevskaya

    20) Zampieri

    • Milady DeWinter

      Damn Smiley Face #8!

    • peter

      Milady, I think you’ve got it … except for no. 16. She sounds more like Millo than Tomowa-Sintow.

    • DellaCasaFan

      Peter got it right about Millo. After reading his pick for #16 (Millo), I found it on Youtube. Met ’86:

      I am still impressed with Milady finding Tebaldi. I don’t know Cruz-Romo well, but it sounds all the rest on Milady’s list are right.

      • Milady DeWinter

        I tell you DellaCasa and Peter, I was conflicted about #16 earlier on in the process, but made peace with AnnaTS, based mostly on the timbral weighting of the senza affret. sixteenths “Non ti vedro” and the final “mai piu”.
        That’s where to find a timbral core, thanks to the generally distant sonics (Clever Cieca’s Camouflage!).
        Millo, in form, and to to me, was very Tebaldi-esque, in tone and manner. Blessedly, she didn’t flat on the highs. I didn’t/couldn’t quite hear the “Millo-Tebaldi Mai Piu Transferral Effect”.
        Tebaldi was a ‘tell’ with that hard line of big, straight tone, just tugging under the true pitch.
        But how revealing and interesting to land right on the money-note phrase with no leading prep -- it’s positively unsettling.
        Except, I believe, for La Leontyne. No muddy tape could possibly shadow the soaring plush, even on a rare hasty ascent. And Callas, of course, which is why neither one was in the line-up, I assume. And until things got really bad, I’ve always maintained that Callas wobbled exactly on pitch.
        Perhaps the context of a climactic moment heard this way makes the I.D. tougher. I wonder how we would hear another similar challenge, e.g. penultimate trill and E-flat from the Lucia Mad Scene, or Rodolfo’s “la speranza” or Faust’s “la presence”-which would be a buffet of B-flats, Bs, and Cs.
        Somewhere above, one of parterre’s regular etoiles called out the transposition in #16 -- brilliant. I did not catch that the first several times through; I just know Tebaldi’s sound by heart, I suppose.
        But it makes perfect sense in a Tebaldi world.
        There’s one or two (ahem) on my list of which I’m not totally convinced, so it will be fun to see how it all turns out.

  • gk

    Here are my guesses.

    1) Lucina Amara
    2) Mirella Freni
    3) Sandra Radvanovsky
    4) Astrid Varnay
    5) Leonie Rysanek
    6) Latonia Moore
    7) Nina Stemme
    8) Maria Chiara
    9) Ghena Dimitrova
    10) Ljuba Welitsch
    11) Gina Cigna
    12) Julia Varady
    13) Birgit Nilsson
    14) Shirley Verrett
    15) MontserratCaballe
    16) Aprile Millo
    17) Marisa Galvany
    18) Renata Tebaldi
    19) Antonietta Stella
    20) Mara Zampieri

    • gk

      1 -- Lucine Amara
      8 -- Maria Chiara

  • DIscher-Fieskau

    I think a major factor in Leontyne Price’s ease with this passage and the high C was “headroom.” Even in the later years of her career, she routinely vocalized up to a full-voiced high F. When you know you have an F in your pocket, a C isn’t so frightening.

  • DIscher-Fieskau

    You guys are way better than I am. I only recognized Amara, Radian, Varnay, Rysanek, Caballé and Tebaldi. I thought the one that everyone else recognized as Chiara might have been young Gwyneth Jones.

    Even on the soundtrack to the film with Sophia Loren (1954?) Tebaldi starts flatting on the way up. Even if the final interval is the appropriate full tone, by the time she gets there she’s already virtually transposed the whole passage.

    I think of Mae West in “Goin’ to Town” when she’s being coached by a voice teacher before performing Delilah. As she’s vocalizing in her unique way, he tears his hear out saying “You’re using the worst way to get to that note.” She answers, “Ooooh, I wanna get there in the worst way.”

    • DIscher-Fieskau

      “Radian” is what OS X autocorrect does to Radvanovsky.

  • stevey

    Wow, great ear, Peter, on determining that the lady in question is, in fact, La Millo. And great detective work, DellaCasaFan, on finding the visual/auditory proof! Is it me, or do I detect a slight orchestral flub just after the climactic C that’s common to both, or am I just suffering auditory hallucinations after all these damn Aida’s??

    Also, huge kudos to all the Renata Tebaldi fans who guessed that her sound is, as I put it to myself, ‘the flat lady at #18’. I listened to it again, and believe that you’re absolutely right! My proof? An idiosyncrasy- instead of singing the phrase “Oh pa-tree-ah mee-ah”, Tebaldi sings it “Oh pa-ahtreeah mee-ah”, as does the flat lady here. Good going!

    I further admit that I have no clue who number 11 is. :-(

    So, how about this?

    1) Lucine Amara
    2) Mirella Freni
    3) Sondra Radvanovsky
    4) Astrid Varnay
    5) Leonie Rysanek
    6) Latonia Moore
    7) Nina Stemme
    8) Maria Chiara
    9) Ghena Dimitrova
    10) Ljuba Welitsch
    11) Eileen Farrell
    12) Julia Varady
    13) Birgit Nilsson
    14) Shirley Verrett
    15) Montserrat Caballe
    16) Aprile Millo
    17) Marisa Galvany
    18) Renata Tebaldi
    19) Galina Vishnevskaya
    20) Mara Zampieri

    ???

    • Camille

      Stevey--no way José is no. 11 Eileen Farrell! Please try again!

      I wanted to tell you no. 18 was la grande Renata but didn’t want to get in trouble with la grande Cieca but I am sticking my neck out now to keep kn OCd-ing!

      • DIscher-Fieskau

        I don’t think Farrell ever performed this aria, even in your younger years. She did the Aida/Amneris duet once on a radio show with Margaret Harshaw (and cracked the C in that) and even into the early 1970’s she would do “Ritorna vincitor” and the Act 3 duet with Rhadames (“Pur ti riveggo”) but I find it hard to picture her even trying “O patria mia.” By her own admission, relative to high C, “I’m like a stuck pig on that note.”

  • gk

    OK…after even more exhaustive listening, # 19 is not Stella. I found a Vishnevskaya recording that is not the exact one provided here (the phrasing is slightly different) but it’s enough to convince me. Here’s my final list:

    1 -- Lucine Amara
    2 -- Mirella Freni
    3 -- Sandra Radvanovsky
    4 -- Astrid Varnay
    5 -- Leonie Rysanek
    6 -- Latonia Moore
    7 -- Nina Stemme
    8 -- Maria Chiara
    9 -- Ghena Dimitrova
    10 -- Ljuba Welitsch
    11 -- Gina Cigna
    12 -- Julia Varady
    13 -- Birgit Nilsson
    14 -- Shirley Verrett
    15 -- Montserrat Caballe
    16 -- Aprile Millo
    17 -- Marisa Galvany
    18 -- Renata Tebaldi
    19 -- Galina Vishnevskaya
    20 -- Mara Zampieri

    • moi

      ‘poor Micaela Carosi’ must be thrilled to be mixed up with somebody like Tebaldi…. actually she (Carosi) rose up to the high C with one breath just ten years ago.
      And aren’t we taught to appreciate the voices we recognise immediately? Freni, Stemme, Radvanovski and even Amara were amomg the first ones.
      Of course , if one is very competitive, the last lists have it easier, just adding the last missing singers , but many tend to approach these notes so carefully, that it is hard to distinguish them.
      Caballe cracked at LaScala , and has the most fab C on her recording— so I’m not worried for Harteros either.
      And Brava Garanca… to finish this message

      • 98rsd

        Carosi was appalling at the Met in 2007 as Aida. In the performance I saw, ALL of O patria mia was out of tune. She was barely adequate as a Covent Garden Tosca.

  • Camille

    The only thing ime I’ve heard this sung more or less as written was in a performance at Central Park with the New York Grand Opera, featuring the, at that time, young soprano Michelle Capalbo. It was a pleasant surprise to hear, for once.

    And poor Stefka Evatatieva completely went mute on the C in San Francisco when there in 1984. I can’t imagine how she finished the performance after that.

    • Camille

      Dammit autocorrect hell! “The only time…etc.”

  • La Cieca is happy to note that the best guesser so far has 18 out of 20 of the divas correct.

    • jrance

      I don’t have time to listen to all of these, but I wonder if they include one of the best (Alessandra Marc in her 1989 Met debut) as well as one of the worst (Nina Rautio in a 1996 Met broadcast)??

      • mirywi

        It’s not that long and is very interesting. Treat yourself.

  • My fave recording of the aria is Anna Moffo. I know she could never have done the role but the aria is simply stunning.

  • stevey

    More obsessiveness…

    1) Lucine Amara
    2) Mirella Freni
    3) Sondra Radvanovsky
    4) Astrid Varnay
    5) Leonie Rysanek
    6) Latonia Moore
    7) Nina Stemme
    8) Maria Chiara
    9) Ghena Dimitrova
    10) Ljuba Welitsch
    11) Gina Cigna
    12) Julia Varady
    13) Violeta Urmana
    14) Shirley Verrett
    15) Montserrat Caballe
    16) Aprile Millo
    17) Marisa Galvany
    18) Zinka Milanov
    19) Galina Vishnevskaya
    20) Mara Zampieri

    I think #8 (Maria Chiara) is wrong, but can’t seem to find any auditory evidence (‘hello, YouTube!’) to suggest anybody else… other than that, I feel pretty good about everybody else (which is always a bad sign… (lol))

  • mariano barbieri

    169 persons here talking about an opera aria and nobody noticed the speed of the tape is slower in the Tebaldi track (19), the copy of the tape is not in the right pitch and nobody realized of that. The worst Cs are Dimitrova and Stemme