Cher Public

Spin the dial

In preparation for tomorrow night’s revival of Der fliegende Holländer at the Met, it’s time for you, the cher public, to check how well do you know your Sentas. After the jump, a quiz featuring 15 singers performing Senta’s Ballad. Your task is to identify all of them, in the correct order, in the comments section below. 

  • Bill

    For Janacek lovers Julliard still has one more performance
    at the Peter Sharp theater of Janacek’s Katja Kabanova on
    Tuesday April 25 at 7:30 pm. The opera is sung in English
    with traditional sets and costumes (except maybe the flying bed)
    and is well sung by presumably a largely student cast conducted by Anne Manson --

    Particularly memorable in the cast Sam Levine as Kudrjas, a possessor of a lovely tenor voice, stage assurance and the most precise diction one could hope for from an opera singer in English.
    Equally enchanting to watch and hear was Samantha Hankey as
    Varvara -- a mezzo with alluring stage presence, a most remarkable ability to act a role in the most natural and telling manner, and a sonorous sound -- it was riveting to watch her every stage action and facial expression. As a matter of fact all the singing was good including that of the Katja a strong voiced Felicia Moore with a deep Mezzo singing Kabanicha named Sara Coudan and a rich bass as Dikoj named Alex Rosen. Xiaomeng Zhang impressed vocally in the small role of Kuligen and there was not a weak link in the cast. Incidentally the opera is currently being performed in Vienna with Angela Denoke in the title role
    but the chances of the Met reviving it any time soon (originally done for Benackova) are remote, What astonished me most
    about the Julliard production was the naturalness of acting of the young singers on stage. Quite refreshing after enduring Fleming
    as the Marschallin just recently.

    • Rosina Leckermaul

      I heard Katya yesterday. Not the best performance I have heard at Juilliard but beautiful conducting and orchestral playing. I thought the Kabanichka had what could euphemistically be called a “unique voice.” A bit shrill. Felicia Moore had a strong lyric voice. The men were all good with surer technique than the women had.

      • Baritenor

        I’ve been waiting for Sara Couden to pop up on this board for about ten years. She started out in San Francisco and I remember the first time I heard her I jumped out of my skin. She just finished her tenure in the Met’s Young Artist program…CRAZY talented.

  • aulus agerius

    I don’t know any of them but it sure was entertaining to listen to the enormous variety of approach! I thought the first one has a very beautiful voice -- perhaps Stemme. The one about half way through with the slight distortion at the beginning -- perhaps Traubel, based purely on the quality of the recorded sound, i.e. it sounded late 40s to me.

  • Tamino

    I will take a guess. Some are blank, and maybe 1/2 of the others are right!

    1) Rysanek
    3) Eaglen
    4) Voigt
    5) Janowitz
    6) Crespin
    7) Varnay
    8) Silja
    9) Ludwig
    10) Ligendza
    12) no idea--someone who wants to sing it much higher!
    13) Flagstad
    14) Women’s chorus only
    15) Schroeder-Feinen
    16) ??

    • Sheldon

      Tamino--I agree with you on 1, 3 and especially 4. That’s got to be Voigt. But Luvtennis is right on 10--Studer all the way.

      • Bill

        Tamino -- I do not believe Janowitz ever sang Senta -- on the stage =maybe an extract recorded on a disc of German arias.

  • No. 3 is def’n Eaglen.

  • southerndoc1

    14 is the McGuire Sisters.

  • fletcher

    I’m generally hopeless at these quizzes but Crespin sounds fabulous.

  • Luvtennis

    First pass

    1 Rysanek
    3 Eaglen
    4 Balslev
    5 Schech
    6 Crespin
    7 Varnay
    10 Studer
    12 Silja
    13 Flagstad
    14 Teschemaker
    15 Janis Martin.

  • John L

    1. Rysanek (slight intonation problem in the very beginning)
    2. ?
    3. Eaglen (I wouldn’t have gotten this, but my eyes wandered to the comment feed)
    4. ?
    5. Behrens?
    6. Crespin
    7. Varnay
    8. Lawrence
    9. For some reason I thought Podles, I was thinking mezzo
    10. Dernesch?
    11. ?
    12. ?
    13. Lubin?
    14. ?
    15. ?
    16. ?

    • Leonie had an inner ear problem which made singing a cappella or with light underscoring difficult for her, as she couldn’t always hear the pitch (one of the most painfully blatant examples is the opening phrase of “Tu che le vanità” in the Met 1964 broadcast with Corelli). As much as she loved the Otto Schenk “Tannhäuser” production which she premiered in 1977, she told me she hated the staging in the third act for Elisabeth’s prayer: the combination of the underscoring plus her distance from the orchestra pit made it one of her “well, here goes” moments every night. She never really knew what was going to come out of her mount until she opened it. Believe me: I sweated through enough “Mario! Mario! Mario!”s with her from the wings to know the look on her face if she was pleased… or not.

      • JR

        Understandable about Elisabeth’s prayer, but her exit after the aria was one of the most moving moments I’ve ever experienced at the opera.

        • Bill

          JR -- and Rysanek’s exit after Elisabeth’s prayer was never exactly identical to a previous performance in that production -- she just moved as if her heart and soul were broken in accordance with the music -- she was one of those operatic wonders -- always spontaneously acting (or sometimes gloriously overacting particularly if she was not in her best voice that particular evening).

      • John L

        Makes sense, from most of what I’ve heard from her, it usually takes her a few measures to get started. But once it gets started, it’s full steam ahead!

  • spiderman

    1. Rysanek
    2. Zampieri
    3. Eaglen
    4. Balslev

    5. Schech
    6. Crespin
    7. Varnay
    8. Lawrence

    9. sounds funily a bit like Simionato (and it is in italian …)
    10. Studer
    11. ?

    12. Silja
    13. Flagstad

    14. ?
    15. Jones

  • Rowna Sutin

    Since this is way beyond me I just listened for fun. I didn’t keep a list but I was surprised to find so many mezzo type voices. I think i heard Shirley Verrett somewhere -- 11? Was a blank space by many guessers.

  • Luvtennis

    I hate to be a pest, but I would love to know the correct answers…. ????

  • Federico Zamboni

    I think N. 9 could be Virginia Zeani