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!

  • scifisci

    After a first pass I only recognized ludwig, herlitzius, marton, gorr, meier and varnay for sure i think, so I will abstain from the competition, but wow Marton is really something no? Ludwig too. Jealous of anyone who got to see them in this live.
    Also who is that last one?? She somehow manages to end up even further south than where she started

  • John L

    Some are complete guesses but here goes:

    1. Christa Ludwig

    2. Waltraud Meier

    3. Hanna Schwartz?

    4. ?

    5. ?

    6. Rita Gorr

    7. Germaine Lubin (it’s in French right?)

    8. Astrid Varnay

    9. Deborah Polaski

    10. Anja Silja?

    11. Helga Dernesch?

    12. ?

    13. ?

    • Camille

      Did Germaine Lubin sing Ortrud? I am unaware of a great deal of her repertory besides the great French roles and Isolde, but the thought is intriguing.

      • John L

        It was a guess, but probably more educated than some of my other guesses. She and Marjorie Lawrence are the only singers I know who have been recorded singing Wagner in a French theater. And she has that slightly flat, saggy (in a good way) sound. On a third round of listening #13 does sound like Marjorie Lawrence, but the sound was so old I didn’t realize it was French too!

        • Camille

          Oh, not to worry, and not trying to put you on the spot but just trying to catch up on casus Lubin, of whom I knew not that much of, until the last ten years and purchasing André Tubeuf’s beautifully illustrated pane to divas Lost Divas. And now, with the YouTubes, have finally been able to hear a bit of her singing, if only just that, bits. Such a beautiful voice and a beautiful manner of singing Wagner, perhaps it is so because she sings it in French. Her Wiki page, if that is at all reliable, says she sang in Lohengrin, however, as Elsa, so I don’t know about this Ortrudis thing. As probably a great deal of what may be extant of her recordings are still not released, perhaps she did sing Ortrud, who knows, not I.

          Whatever, she was certainly an extra special singer, not only for the beauty of her tone and the care with the line, but also as a student of the great Félia Litvinne, who in turn was a student of the great Pauline Viardot-Garcia, hence an inheritor of the famous and much-discussed “Garcia Method”, and someone, therefore, who acts as a recorded model and link to a school that was prevalent in the last half of the nineteenth century and is of great historical importance in the story of singing.

          • John L

            I tried googling Lubin and Otrud and could NOT find anything at all. So if #7 really is her, then Christopher Corwin must have a veritable stash of gems to come up with this compilation. It’s too bad that she wasn’t recorded more often. I find her as magisterial as Flagstad, but less matronly. That is an interesting fact regarding the school of voice she comes from. Do you think that extends to her pupil Regine Crespin? I do see some similarities between them (both of whom I like).

            • Camille

              Oh thanks, me too! And extremely well put--“as magisterial as Flagstad but less matronly”, yes exactly. I have up and down the youtuber fields this morning trying to turn up an Ortrud potato, with no kuck.

              As I recall Régine studied with someone other than Mme Lubin, that is, when she was rebuilding her voice later on, and perhaps she checked in with Zinka Milanov when here in New York as they ALL did but of that I am not certain. She studied with yet another lady whose name I can not recall at the moment (and who taught her next to nothing) in conservatory and later on there with “Papa” Jouatte (Georges, I think his name was). Now she may well have taken a few lessons with Lubin in the fifties when she was still in and out of Paris and playing the provinces and if I had her autobio handy I’d look it up. If I find it, I shall.

              Crespin did sing the excerpt from Reyer’s Sigurd a bit, which was also jn the repertory of Lubin. I am very greedy to hear more of her as her sound is exceptionally beautiful, classical, true in tone, brilliant and golden. I must go listen to that interview—probably don’t doubt that a lot of the tar she got painted with was due to the enmity of the jealous, as she was rather the grande and haughty diva, but it was certainly her due for she was Grande, with a capital “G”.

            • Camille

              Suzanne Cesbron was the name of her first teacher and I think she was her first real cintact with the Conservatoire--her name just floated up from the bottom of my murky, slimey memory pond.

            • phoenix

              right, Camille -- Suzanne Cesbron-Viseur was her first tutor at the Conservatoire de Paris -- but, Crespin was always the prima donna and her relationship with her tutor eventually became mutually hostile. According to Crespin, Mme. Cesbron-Viseur (who, as you wrote above, claimed that in her own youth claimed she studied with the extremely elderly Viardot-Garcia) never accepted Crespin’s ‘natural’ vocal style of production & told her using such technique she will have no success. Mme. Cesbron-Viseur constantly tried to get Crespin to change it. Eventually Crespin got into a fight with her and left. But later on, when Crespin made her first commercial recital LP, she generously sent Mme. Cesbron-Viseur a copy accompanied by a note, something to the effect of -do you still say I will never have any success?-
              -- By the way, I have read numerous biographies that mistakenly state Crespin made her debut as Marguerite or Elsa in 1950 -- actually her first stage appearance was as Charlotte in Werther at Reims in 1949.

            • Camille

              She sang Charlotte? WHAT?????? Where? From her book I thought her first appearance in opera was Mulhouse, as Elsa in Blowenrgrin???????? And there was an early Desdemona with Jose Luccioni somewhere in the south, too. Please ‘splain yo’self, fence!!!!

              Also, I did NOT say she was an inheritor of the Méthode de l’Art de Chant of Garcia, but that Lubin was taught by Litvinne was taught by Viardot-GARCIA, the sister/daughter of the originators of this technique. I think Régine winged it, a whole lot, and because of that damned lady Cesbron-Viseur (thank you for the rest of her name), and the conflict between them was that teacher lady C-V told Régine she would never be able to sing ‘les demi-teints’, and when she received her recording of Les Nuits d’Été did she realize her error and ask her pardon. That’s all I can dredge up from the murky memory pond tonight because that book has disappeared.

              Anyway, Régine was divine. She outclassed so many others and had a kind of weird estrangement from her own country — well, recently I discovered Berthe Monmart, via the kindness of my BFF, Buster, and she had quite a voice and sang the same repertory more or less as Crespin, so maybe that was a part of it, as Monmart was singing in Paris when Crespin was farmed out in the provinces. Maybe it was prejudice because she was a southerner and half Italian, for that matter…Orrore!

              Hope you are walking some and not in pain! Salud, pesetas, y amor!

            • phoenix

              Now Camille, calm down. I don’t know anything about Germaine Lubin except my French tutor’s husband from Lyon used to play these thick old heavy Pathé 78’s with Germaine Lubin singing I couldn’t tell you what since I was only 17.
              -- I don’t remember Crespin mentioning Germaine Lubin, but I only met Crespin in USA in post-war days -- but the gist I am getting about Lubin is that she, like me, got caught up in the turbulent confusion of WWII (albeit under different circumstances). During WWII my adopted mother worked for the Red Cross & went to the train station every day to assist the soldiers & refugees. You have no idea what a nightmare that Day Care Center I had to got to with kids (some of them all the way up to 12 or 13 years old) shattered from the Holocaust -- the public schools wouldn’t take them -- worse yet were the old people who spoke very little and in barely audible tones, just staring out at nothing and nodding their head.
              -- I will read up on Lubin from your link but Camille I try to avoid WWII tragedies.
              -- Re: Mme. Cesbron-Viseur: Suzanne Catherine Cesbron-Viseur, née le 24 mai 1879 à Paris (XVIIe arrondissement) et morte le 23 août 1967 à Seilhan (Haute-Garonne), était une cantatrice et professeur de chant française. Fille du peintre Achille Cesbron, elle étudia le chant au Conservatoire de Paris où elle suivit les cours de Pauline Viardot. Elle y obtint les premiers prix de chant et de solfège en 1900, puis les premiers prix d’opéra et d’opéra-comique en 1901. Elle débuta à l’Opéra-Comique en 1902 et à l’Opéra de Paris en 1923. Elle interpréta Manon, Chimène dans Le Cid, Charlotte dans Werther, Thaïs, Sapho, Louise, Tosca, La Vie de bohème, Hamlet, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, Pelléas et Melisande, Madame Butterfly, Roméo et Juliette, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Faust, Valentine dans Les Huguenots et le rôle de Pamina dans La Flûte enchantée.
              Elle chanta en tournée à Bruxelles, Alger, Tunis et dans les grandes salles de province (Bordeaux, Nice, etc.). Elle épousa en 1918 le musicien et chef d’orchestre Georges Viseur.
              Elle fut nommée professeur de chant au Conservatoire en 1927, et y eut pour élèves les plus célèbres Germaine Lubin, Irène Joachim et Régine Crespin.

            • Camille

              Oh thank you for that Wiki-French page. I had not known Cesbron-Viseur had also studied with Viardot-Garcia, and that she had also taught Lubin, who is generally always credited as a Félia Litvinne, a FAR greater singer as well, étudiante. Hmmmmmmm, I’ll have to investigate even further.

              Also, I had the half-assed impression that Cesbron-Viseur was more a lyric soprano and she seemed to have covered the proverbial waterfront with that repertoire, although things not written in Fach Cement as they are these days and far more liquid.

              oh dear, horrible the sufferings that men reap upon other men. It must have been a terrible thing to face the hard facts of life at such an age when one is entitled to a bit of fantasy and faith in others.

              Régine Crespin, I met one time and was very impressed with her as a human being. She seemed to me to have a real soul and to have suffered a great deal and she seemed honored to be in the position she was in and to treat it with respect. She had the most beautiful and sad, profound eyes; I still can remember her look when I asked her a question. A truly great singer and I am sorry for her suffering in life, for the great beauty she gave us and which we all can still enjoy seemed to cost her a hefty price.

            • phoenix

              -- French operahouses beginning in the 1840’s began to develop their own sort of ‘fach’ system -- not rigorously enforced from city to city, but a game plan did exist. What makes their system more interesting than the German one is they were tailored for the singers & the rep at a particular house in a given season. Examples of fach-type identification of roles:
              forte premiere chanteuse
              premiere chanteuse a roulades
              premier soprano serieux
              premier soprano leger
              chanteuse legere d’opera comique
              chhanteuse legere de grand opera
              premier ténor d’opéra
              première chanteuse falcon
              première chanteuse légère
              etc.
              Crespin’s debut: The debut confusion lies in the fact that Crespin made her original (first) debut in 1949 as mezzo/dramatic soprano (rep she went back to again later on) -- then she made her lyric soprano debuts in 1950 -- Lohengrin & Faust.

        • Buster

          John: 13) is in German. Unlike Lawrence’s studio recordings, her live Wagner is all in the original language (Senta, Venus, Ortrud, Brunnhilde, Kundry).

          • Buster

            And her Sieglinde… 13) is from the Met, the famous Bodanzky Lohengrin from 1935, with Lotte Lehmann, Lauritz Melchior, and Friedrich Schorr.

  • Buster

    13. is Marjorie Lawrence.

  • Camille

    stevey!—it’s time for you to arise, Erda-like! An’s Werk!

    After a while they ALL sound like Eva Marton, although I did manage to hear Deborah Polaski in there somewhere and wonder what language one of those last Ortrues was singing in, and if perhaps it might be the great Marjorie Lawrence.

    I shall not be risking another migraine headache, as the Lady Macbeth competition gave me a ferocious one, so bonne chance, mes amis! There’s enough Trug und Heuchelei for everyone’s heart content herein.

  • siegmund

    1. Christa ludwig
    2. Christine Goerke
    3. Evelyn Herlitzius
    4. Eva Marton
    5. ?
    6. Rita Gorr
    7. ?
    8. Astrid Varnay
    9. Deborah Polaski
    10. Waltraud Meier
    11. ?
    12. Ursula Schroder-Feinen
    13. Marjorie Lawrence

  • phoenix

    5. Dunja Vejzovic

  • phoenix

    5. Ruth Hesse

  • phoenix

    3. Gwyneth Jones
    7. Barbro Ericson
    11. Margaret Harshaw

    • John L

      #3! How could I mistaken that wobble for anyone else!

  • UpB7

    Heck, this must be one of the trickiest challenges I’ve ever encountered. (I’m concluding that not all of these are necessarily live Met broadcast clips.)

    Here’s my first guess:

    1. Leonie Rysanek
    2. Gwyneth Jones
    3. Eva Marton
    4. Gabriele Schnaut
    5. Christa Ludwig
    6. Astrid Varnay
    7. Margaret Harshaw
    8. Deborah Polaski
    9. Luana DeVol
    10. Mignon Dunn
    11. Nell Rankin
    12. Elizabeth Connell
    13. Blanche Thebom

  • UpB7

    Here’s my second guess:

    1 -- Ludmila Dvorakova
    2 -- Mignon Dunn
    3 -- Eva Marton
    4 -- Deborah Polaski
    5 -- Nell Rankin
    6 -- Margaret Harshaw
    7 -- Astrid Varnay
    8 -- Kerstin Thorborg
    9 -- Christa Ludwig
    10 -- Eva Randova
    11 -- Luana DeVol
    12 -- Leonie Rysanek
    13 -- Marjorie Lawrence

  • UpB7

    Here’s my third guess:

    1) Leonie Rysanek
    2) Ludmila Dvorakova
    3) Eva Marton
    4) Luana DeVol
    5) Mignon Dunn
    6) Margaret Harshaw
    7) Astrid Varnay
    8) Christa Ludwig
    9) Deborah Polaski
    10) Elizabeth Connell
    11) Petra Lang
    12) Dunja Vejzovic
    13) Marjorie Lawrence

  • UpB7

    Here’s my fourth and final guess:

    1) Leonie Rysanek
    2) Ludmila Dvorakova
    3) Eva Marton
    4) Luana DeVol
    5) Mignon Dunn
    6) Margaret Harshaw
    7) Astrid Varnay
    8) Christa Ludwig
    9) Deborah Polaski
    10) Elizabeth Connell
    11) Petra Lang
    12) Waltraud Meier
    13) Marjorie Lawrence

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Obviously you never heard Leonie Rysanek (or Christa Ludwig for that matter).

      • UpB7

        Not live, no. And not in the role of Ortrud either, except for a few internet clips and studio recording audio clips.

        Leonie Rysanek and Christa Ludwig have a few things in common. They both had large, dramatic voices. While Rysanek was a dramatic soprano and Ludwig is a dramatic mezzo, they both sang dramatic soprano roles. They also both sang dramatic mezzo roles and zwischenfach roles. Their tones sound both dark and bright at the same time, especially Rysanek in her later decades compared to Ludwig for much for her career.

        By the way, what are your guesses to this challenge?

      • phoenix

        Speaking of Leonie Rysanek, I just came across this tonite -- it’s a new one to me but everyone else must be familiar with it:

        • gk

          This is Lotte Rysanek singing Leonora, not Leonie.

          • phoenix

            of course -- did anyone think Leonie herself could have done the Trovoatore Leonora so well in 1971

          • phoenix

            re: yet another ryasanek -- has anyone heard from (or about) that veteran font of accurate operatic academia & former contest-winner lovely rysanekfreak? I still remember the comments, so well-written they were. rysanekfreak was so sharp & on-target -- most of all he had the good sense to snub me whenever possible. I trust he is still sticking his nose up someplace somewhere -- hopefully in a more pungently savory location than here.

            • Camille

              No. I wonder where he is. He was very funny, too.

        • Camille

          You managed to fake me out, phoenix, I was really going ????????? there for a moment.

          Lotte is on one of those FRoSCH recordings as Die Falke, if I remember correctly, and there is an opera, Dalibor???????? or somethin’ Smetana in which the two sisters have a big old duet, now THAT would be fun!

          • phoenix

            Leonie as Milada & Lotte as Jitka:

            Thanks for mentioning Dalibor, Camille -- looking for it I found another live Dalibor 1973 RAI auditorium that I haven’t heard yet -- with Ludovic Spiess as Dalibor & Radmila Bakocevic as Milada:

            • Camille

              Yes, I have got to get acquainted with that one sometime, so I’ve earmark this page. Ludovic Spiess was pretty good, as I recall. Afraid I’m not all that crazy about The Bartered Bride, excepting as I heard the aria sung by Sena Jurinac once. THAT was pretty and extremely evocative.

              Thanks.

          • Krunoslav

            Lotte made some commercial operetta recordings

            • Camille

              Very interesting. Like a saner, prettier, normal version of her sister. Same great lift up to the high note and ease.

              It must have been a challenge to be Die Falke to Die Kaiserin and live in her Schatten.

  • Camille

    The more I look at this page, the more I understand where Philip Glass came from — and it’s said it was all that influence of Ravi Shankar…..

  • UpB7

    This is my fifth and probably my last guess:

    1) Christa Ludwig
    2) Ludmila Dvorakova
    3) Eva Marton
    4) Luana DeVol
    5) Mignon Dunn
    6) Margaret Harshaw
    7) Astrid Varnay
    8) Leonie Rysanek
    9) Deborah Polaski
    10) Elizabeth Connell
    11) Petra Lang
    12) Waltraud Meier
    13) Marjorie Lawrence

  • Bluebeard

    Spent way too much time thinking about this, but here goes:

    1. Christa Ludwig
    2. Christine Goerke
    3. Evelyn Herlitzius
    4. Eva Marton
    5. Margaret Harshaw
    6. Rita Gorr
    7. Germaine Lubin
    8. Astrid Varnay
    9. Deborah Polaski
    10. Waltraud Meier
    11. Ursula Schröder-Feinen
    12. Now I really can’t figure this one out, and it’s driving me insane. Elizabeth Connell? That top is so free, so I’d imagine it’d have to be a soprano in this. At most maybe a young Eva Randova.
    13. Marjorie Lawrence

  • mia apulia

    I will not enter a guess, but a comment: listening to this passage 13 times is certainly an unlucky 13, because it is most unpleasant after the fifth time or so

    • antikitschychick

      I actually enjoyed 11 out of the 13. It’s an exciting passage of music…number 1 gave me major goosebumps. Thrilling singing.

  • stevey

    Hi everyone! Like Lazarus rising from his grave, HERE I am! With thanks to both La Cieca AND DeCafferrelli for another one of these great quizzes, here are my guesses:

    1. Christa Ludwig
    2. Christine Goerke
    3. Evelyn Herlitzius
    4. Eva Marton
    5. Dunja Vejzovic
    6. Rita Gorr
    7. Germaine Lubin (no clue on this one, really… SOMEONE old and french!!)
    8. Astrid Varnay
    9. Deborah Polaski
    10. Waltraud Meier
    11. Margaret Harshaw
    12. Ursula Schroder-Feinen
    13. Marjorie Lawrence

    (And, while we’re (sorta) on the subject here, I was re-acquainting myself with La Vejzovic for some reason not too long ago (probably for her crazy choice of repertoire, which encompassed the Siegfried Brunnhilde, Fidelio, Alceste, Abigaille, Lucrezia from ‘I Due Foscari’, and Norma, along with all the usual mezzo staples) , and came upon something which I MUST share with you all. Check this out- a “lachte” like no other comes at 2:04!!)

    • Camille

      Finalmente!!

      I didn’t hear your fave Gertrude G-P this time nor Szilvia Rálik, either, but whadda I know??

      Glad to know you are still in the land of the living, steverino!

      Ed ora- -basta e buonanotte! Ed in bocca al lupo, ancora!

    • Camille

      Oh, I heard Vejzovvic sing Abigaille once and it was not bad at all, FWIW2U

  • stevey

    (Would probably help if I included the link, huh? Have another glass of wine, Stevey…)

  • stevey

    Let the obsessive-compulsiveness begin!!

    1. Christa Ludwig
    2. Christine Goerke
    3. Evelyn Herlitzius
    4. Eva Marton
    5. Margaret Harshaw (from Met broadcast with Lisa Della Casa as Elsa)
    6. Rita Gorr
    7. Germaine Lubin
    8. Astrid Varnay
    9. Deborah Polaski
    10. Waltraud Meier
    11. Irene Dalis
    12. Ursula Schroder-Feinen
    13. Marjorie Lawrence

  • Rowna

    I am not making an official entry -- but the first three are very obvious. After a while it gets a little tougher and I never heard of someone that everyone seems to know -- Germaine Lubin. But I thought I heard Leonie somewhere in there, and then there was the possibility of Dernesch and even Urmana! I would never have guessed Marjorie Lawrence either, and I didn’t hear a lot of singers from the really long ago.

    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Rowna: please check this out; you will find her story interesting:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germaine_Lubin

      • Rowna

        Thanks! I will. Am almost finished with Fidelio. I will voice my opinion later. ????

      • messa di voce

        The great Ward Marston will be releasing a complete Lubin edition later this year.

        • Camille

          Thank you for the notice. Does it include this elusive “Entweihte Götter!”, which everyone seems above to be hearing, as all I can find is her Elsa excerpts on YouTube.

          Rownissima, since you like juicy Wagner, you’ve just got to encounter La Lubin, who was obscure to us in the States for a very long time and whose story is as massively operatic as was any of her roles. Here is a sampler plate for now and happy listening, for at her best, she is just sublime:

          httpv://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcMPoFwEnPQaWyQPsvHgSnFr1m7eHPGge