Cher Public

Triskaidekaphilia

Presented for your amusement and competitiveness, cher public, yet one more in our series of vocal identification quizzes. Your task: name the Ortruds, all unlucky 13 of them.

The following sound clip (devised by the nefarious Christopher Corwin) consists of a veritable coven of divas wailing the final page of “Ortrud’s Curse” from Lohengrin. Your task, cher public, will be to name the artists in the comments section. The first parterrian to name all 13 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 $75.00. The closing date is Wednesday, June 24, 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!

  • Buster

    Hard to tell what language 7) sings in, but my guess is Italian, and it is Elena Nicolai.

  • Well, that’s a great quiz.

    Like almost everyone else, I start out convinced that No. 1 is Ludwig, but after hearing everyone else, including No. 2, No. 1 sounds not dark-toned enough for Ludwig, though the vibrato does sound right. That No. 2 is mighty impressive, with pinpoint attacks and huge power. I would agree with those saying Goerke.

    No. 8 is Varnay and if I were to listen to it for the fourth or fifth time I could point to the exact slightly gluey attack that is so characteristic of her.

    No. 7 is singing in French and yeah, Lubin, who was a great singer. There are a couple of CDs around of her, and the upcoming Marston release should be great.

    No. 3 oh god. She could certainly be Jones on a bad day.

    No. 5, whomever it is, makes really beautiful use of portamento, which I’m always very glad to hear in Wagner.

    Whomever no. 13 is, she is singing in German.

  • Krunoslav

    Sorry, but this one drives me nuts and we’re getting more unneeded ‘whoms’ around here.

    “whomever it is”

    WHOEVER!!!! That is the subject of your sentence and subsequent verbs. “Whom’ is always an object. Easy test: substitute ‘he’ and ‘him’:

    HE … makes easy use of portamento

    HE… is singing in German

    “Whomever” properly used:

    “I will greet whomever I see when I get to the village.”

    [I will greet HIM…]

    “Please tell whomever you wish that revolution has broken out in Paris.”

    Please tell HIM…”

    Whoever is displeased by grammar can move on, but as a former teacher I would try and explain this to whomever…

  • Krunoslav

    Sorry, but this one drives me nuts and we’re getting more unneeded ‘whoms’ around here.

    “whomever it is”

    WHOEVER!!!! That is the subject of your sentence and subsequent verbs. “Whom’ is always an object. Easy test: substitute ‘he’ and ‘him’:

    HE … makes easy use of portamento

    HE… is singing in German

    “Whomever” properly used:

    “I will greet whomever I see when I get to the village.”

    [I will greet HIM…]

    “Please tell whomever you wish that revolution has broken out in Paris.”

    Please tell HIM…”

    Whoever is displeased by grammar can move on, but as a former teacher I would try and explain this to whomever…

    • quoth the maven

      According to Hollywood legend, Joan Crawford in an interview once grandly asked the rhetorical question “Just whom is fooling whom?”

    • Camille

      Bravo, and many thanks for the mini-tutorial on ‘who’ and ‘whom’, a much needed and easy guide to follow for whomever, in whatever his or her grammatical situation.

      Be that as it may, one hears that the entire ‘who/whom’ thing is constantly violated by the British, even the highly educated among them. Perhaps Madame manou would give us the inside scoop on the ins and outs of that particular disposition, so, as always, it is a case of Chacun à son goût. As I lie on this side of the ocean, I shall steadfastly adhere to The Rule.

      Thank you, as well, for the notice that Revolution has broken out in Paris. I shall advise the Queen and whomever of such nasty details, sure to blow over tout de suite….

      • Milady DeWinter

        And speaking of La Revolution, I don’t know if any of you Marie Antoinette fans (and I know there are some -- not counting you, armer -- I know where your sympathies lie-lol!)have ever come across this mostly unknown and underrated 1990 Pierre Granier Deferre film, starring Ute Lemper. I did not know it and I was rather mesmerized by it --

        • Camille

          This is interesting and thanks, I’ll try to give it some space sometime. The title intrigues me as she was fairly regularly referred to thus, and as it would seem to be departing from that viewpoint that once a foreigner, always a foreigner, hence, ‘not one of us’ and therefore, no good.

          Ute Lemper is just about the last person imaginable to me for impersonating Marie Antoinette, but then Marianne Faithfull was really quite good as Marie Thérèse in the Sofia Coppola film, so what do I know? Wondering who would be the player “Rufus” mentioned in the credits?

          • Milady DeWinter

            I agree -- or did -- about Ute als Antonia -- until I watched it; based on the transcripts of her trial, it’s last three days of her life, fascinating and moving stuff.

      • manou

        Would you like me to get started on whomsoever?

        • Camille

          Please do! Then it will really get exciting

        • Camille

          Actually, if you like, yes, but if you haven’t the time, there is always Nancy Mitford’s Noblesse oblige/i> to consult, and which, probably, I should, as one does not want to emulate Madame Boo-KAY in one’s mutterings, even if one is a damned Yank.

    • Thanks, I’m notably bad at this particular point!

    • Cicciabella

  • Camille

    Has anyone every heard Angelina Jolie sing, by the way? Could it be…?

    The thought suddenly occurred to me that Dolora Zajic(k) sang this role a few years ago in Los Angeles, and if there be a pirate version of her in the role out there.

    FYI to all those suspecting the Lubin presence, still have not come across that one, even after many pages of investigation, so it must be a secret recording only known to DeCaff. There do exist versions in both Swedish and Hungarian(!), though, FWIW.

    Well, maybe Angelina has a big surprise in store for all of us. Wouldn’t put much past her.

    • Hippolyte

      Snippets of the Zajick Ortrud can see heard (and seen) in this video from the LA Lohengrin. She also recently sang the role in Barcelona.

      • Camille

        Thanks so much and had no idea! Maury d’annato loved it, as I recall, and am so glad to hear she’s been stirirng the pot once more. Go Dolora go!!! I wonder what a Kundry from her would be?
        Thanks again, molto obbligato

  • John L

    Camille, if you don’t mind me asking, what was your question to Regine Crespin the time you met her and what was her response?

    One thing I love about Parterre.com is that you get to hear some intimate details of interactions with the opera stars of yore. In addition to hearing about important stories like the one Phoenix told about his WWII aftereffects experience. These stories have to be told to the current generation and re-told to future generations.

    • Camille

      Funny you should ask, as after I mentioned it, then spent a little while trying to remember the exact exchange and came up with nothing. What stays with me was her very polite and deeply engaged listening of my query—most likely something about her particular singing technique as I love to hear singers expatiate upon their pet theories and/or idées fixe on the One, True, and Only Path to Singing—and the seriousness with which she responded to me, as if it were the most important question ever. That is what’s stayed with me. She was, in addition to being very Grande, completely natural and unstuffy, not hardly necessary for her to put on airs or impersonate Bianca Castafiore, as it were.

      There was a period there when a parade of divas were coming around for autographing their books and other such events and although I am loathe to bother singers or any musician after performance, my husband pushed me to go to some of these events so to encounter persons who had had an effect on me, and, this encountered many interesting quirks of personality which made me rethink a lot about these same performers and put a great deal of what they did into another context. Of all of them probably Crespin made the biggest impression in terms of her humanity and of not acting in typical primadonna fashion, probably because she didn’t have to fake it. I remember her complimenting a student’s German in a master class and asking if she spoke the language, admitting that she did never suceed in conquering the language, whilst the student preened and looked superior.

      Anyway, I do feel proud that the time I met Eileen Farrell—as jolly and uncomplicated a soul as one could ever have imagined, this Irish Hausfrau who was the mastermind behind the dominion of myriad styles and schools of singing, and you would have rather thought she was just the lady next to you on the Staten Island Ferry, so unpretentious was she——proud, yes, that she didn’t immediately come up with the famous four letter epithet that starts with f and ends with k, while I chatted with her. For, you see, I had been warned by at least three old school queens who all went on and on about how shocked they were when they met her as the first word that flew out her mouth was “that” one.

      So, you just never know, do you? Singers are, after all, only human beings like all the rest of us: their uniqueness resides in the fact they are the only musicians who can not lie down their instruments when they are done practising or performing and must carry it with them at all times, and outside of a laryngologal institute, invisibly so. Because of that, and because I once loved one deeply, I give them a special indulgence while always being aware of all the little tricks and games they play—endless in variety and fascinating to contemplate.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Ok here are my choices:

    1) Ludwig
    2) Goerke
    3) Herlitzius
    4) Marton
    5) Harschaw
    6) Gorr
    7) Nicolai
    8) Varnay
    9) Polaski
    10) Meier
    11) Dalis
    12) Schröder-Feinen
    13) Lawrence

    11 I am not sure about but I took a guess. No Grob-Prandl, Klose, Thorborg or Branzell. What a pity about Schröder-Feinen.

    • Camille

      Thank god, you, too, didn’t say Lubin, Feldmarschallin!

      I also did not hear Grob-Prandl, Klose, nor Thorborg and had completely forgot about Karin Branzell, whom an ancient teacher of mine had heard back in the day and positively raved about.

      Happy Sonntag!

    • Lohengrin

      Gratulation und Applaus!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Looking forward to ZDF 22 Uhr :-))

  • Which one is M0ffo?

  • kraneled

    Yesterday afternoon i Visited Maalergarden at odsherred denmark and i found, next to THE Piano at THE Music Salon a score of LOHENGRIN. I opened Ortruds curse ENTWEIHTE KÜNSTLER. and Found out that in earlier days, about 1930′,, THEy played These Transcriptions at home , RECITING the words while the Pianist Played THE Music.

    A GREAT SOLUTION for any Ortrud Who feels Indisposed, just recite THE words without singing.

  • stevey

    One final guess!

    1) Christa Ludwig
    2) Christine Goerke
    3) Evelyn Herlitzius
    4) Eva Marton
    5) Margaret Harshaw
    6) Rita Gorr
    7) Elena Nicolai
    8) Astrid Varnay
    9) Deborah Polaski
    10) Waltraud Meier
    11) Margarete Klose
    12) Ursula Schröder-Feinen
    13) Marjorie Lawrence

    Yeah, I, too, am now off the Lubin bandwagon, and- what with the same tonal quality and the ease on that high note, I’m thinking Elena Nicolai. Besides, there are only so many Ortrud’s out there singing in a foreign language, and I don’t think DeCafferrelli would be so evil as to include the likes of Rozsi Delly or Laura Didier-Gambardella for our listening pleasure.
    I’m going with Margarete Klose for the elusive number 11 because I can hear some similarities (although, at this point, I’ve listened to this so many damn times I think somebody could play me Paul Robeson and I could hear some similarities) and besides, there are so many recorded examples of her singing the role out there I figure I’m going with the odds!!
    But this has been fun, as always! Thanks again to La C & DeCafferrelli… and my continued best wishes to all! :-)

  • stevey

    Okay, THIS is my final guess… (that number 11 is just KILLING me. Thank God this will all be over soon, my eardrums are about to burst what with all these damn Ortruds!!)

    1) Christa Ludwig
    2) Christine Goerke
    3) Evelyn Herlitzius
    4) Eva Marton
    5) Margaret Harshaw
    6) Rita Gorr
    7) Elena Nicolai
    8) Astrid Varnay
    9) Deborah Polaski
    10) Waltraud Meier
    11) Nell Rankin
    12) Ursula Schröder-Feinen
    13) Marjorie Lawrence

  • Chere Cieca, when will you post the answers?