Cher Public

Before sunset

In honor of the upcoming Met Opening Night, here’s a singer identification quiz featuring, for a change, music for a tenor: the climactic phrase from Otello’s third act monologue.  

In the following sound clip compiled by Our Own Christopher Corwin you will hear 14 artists performing this magnificent phrase:

Your task, cher public, is to identify all 14 singers, in the correct order, in the comments section below. The first parterrian to name all 14 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 Monday, September 21, 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!

  • Feldmarschallin

    I was wondering if Mr Corwin or our doyenne herself is responsible for the Amazon gift card for the Ortrud quiz. Or perhaps was the fact that I missed one the reason there was no gift certificate but only the winner of the quiz.

  • Some of these are better left a mystery.

  • Buster

    Difficult -- I think I hear:

    3) Ramon Vinay
    4) Helge Roswaenge (in German)
    5) Giovanni Martinelli

  • Milady DeWinter

    These are always fun, and Happy 2015/16 Season to all.
    1. McCracken
    2. Corelli (concert?)
    3. Vinay
    4. ? First, I thought Vickers, not so sure now, but he’s here at least twice below
    5. Martinelli
    6. Domingo
    7. Antonenko?
    8. Alagna
    9. Vickers
    10.? he’s Latin I think
    11. Vickers -- again!
    12. Cossutto -- just a stab in the dark
    13. Cura
    14. Del Monaco

    • David

      Well I’m hopeless at these things, but of your three Vickers the one that sounds most Vickers-y to me is 11

      • Milady DeWinter

        I agree, #11 is Vickers. I think my Vickers #9 guess may actually be Heppner.

    • oscar

      No. 10 is James King.

    • JohninSeattle

      I’m sure one of the Vickers is Mawrdew Czgowchwz. She could sing everything.

      • Camille

        Oltranto, ya know………….

  • gustave of montreal

    I recognize -- I think --
    McCracken
    Del Monaco
    Melchior
    Vickers
    Vinay

    interesting that most of them ignore Verdi’s marking of ppp on che mi fa lieto

  • After recognising McCarcken as the first one, I felt optimistic about this quiz, but alas I was only able to pick out a few more.

    I’ve only listened once so far but I didn’t hear Heppner. And the only Vickers I heard was no. 11.

    And no. 7 wins the prize for the ugliest sound.

    • Porgy Amor

      I’m with you. Number 11 is the only one I thought sounded like Vickers. I’ll be shocked if it’s someone else.

      Number 7 is the most compromised in the sound the tenor is making, but the last one is the one that most made me not want to hear the whole performance, so crude is the phrasing. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be someone I like. (If it’s MdM, as one guess has it, I’m fine with that.)

  • And La Cieca’s right. This is a magnificent phrase.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Thank you La Cieca. I got the email.

  • I’ve got these three only:

    5. Martinelli
    6. Domingo
    11. Vickers

  • Here are my guesses:

    1. James McCracken
    2. Franco Bonisolli
    3. Ramon Vinay
    4. Spas Wenkoff
    5. Giovanni Martinelli
    6. Placido Domingo
    7. Gregory Kunde
    8. Roberto Alagna
    9. Ben Heppner
    10. James King
    11. Jon Vickers
    12. Carlo Cossutta
    13. Jose Cura
    14. Mario Del Monaco

    • Tamerlano

      Holy shit, del Monaco just tortured the whole fucking thing.

    • Tamerlano

      Definitely Kunde for #7 and Bonisolli for #2.

    • Tamerlano

      James King is not #10.

  • Forgot to mention, I do not think Melchior is in there, and I can’t tell what language 4 is singing in.

  • Camille

    I do not know the voices of numbers 4, 7, or 12 but it would appear that Senor Santos has aced all the rest.

    I would stake the farm on number one being McCracken as his was the first recording I owned of this beloved opera and listened to it endlessly, vibratos and wobbles and all.

    It was a pleasant surpise to hear how well James King sang it--I had not known he sang this role--wonderful singer. So happy this opera is being done again in a new incarnation as I love it so, so much.

    • Camille

      Well, yes, James King does sound good in this passage elsewhere on youtube but that example does not sound like this one--different breathing patterns. Puzzling.

      It occurred to me that Helge Roswaenge sang a lot of Verdi revivals auf Deutsch back when the big Verdian revivals were happning in the 20’s or 30’s and it may well be him, as Buster has guessed, instead of Wenkoff, whom I don’t know at all.

      What a GRAND phrase and proof that Verdi never forgot his origins in belcanto opera. A great pleasure to listen to.

  • Tamerlano

    2 things: Martinelli is mesmerizing, and #7 should NOT be singing Otello.

    • Yes, Martinelli is -- there are several bootlegs around of his Otello, and if you do not already have one, the one to get is the first, from 1938.

  • Lee B. Ahmo

    These are such fun! I think Santos has nailed it, but to me #2 sounds like Corelli. God help us if 7 is Antonenko. McCracken sounds much more Italian than the other Anglo singers, doesn’t he?

    I will seek out the Martinelli recordings. Can anyone recommend one with the pitch problems corrected?

    • Tamerlano

      I think he is right with Bonisolli…the high Bb doesn’t flip into that exciting overdrive that was unique to Corelli.

    • Buster

      I compared Naxos (Ward Marston) with the older Music&Arts. The latter has a lot of surface noise, but the voices come through much more vibrantly than on the Naxos, which sounds dull to me. Rethberg in particular is a different singer on M&A.

  • antikitschychick

    fun quiz; I can definitely confirm that the tenor singing around 4:10 (think it’s number 7) is Gregory Kunde and right after him is Alagna. Vickers is 11 I think as well.

  • After some YouTubing, this is my list:

    1. James McCracken
    2. Franco Bonisolli
    3. Ramon Vinay
    4. Spas Wenkoff
    5. Giovanni Martinelli
    6. Placido Domingo
    7. Gregory Kunde
    8. Roberto Alagna
    9. Ben Heppner
    10. Aureliano Pertile
    11. Jon Vickers
    12. Carlo Cossutta
    13. Jose Cura
    14. Mario Del Monaco

    Basically, this is the same list as provided by Hugo Santos with Perile in for King as no 10. So, if I win, I will share the spoils with him.

  • 98rsd

    Jeez, you made me (inadvertently) listen to McCracken. Have you no decency, sir?