Thursday, September 15, 2011

Know Your Opera Singers? - Who Are Sesto & Cornelia?

Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt) is considered by many to be George Handel's best of many wonderful opera for its overabundance of enticingly beautiful music... much of which goes to everybody's favorite historical femme fatale, Cleopatra. For lovers of the lower voiced operatic women, however, there are always the mother and son pair of Cornelia and Sesto to busy our ears with.


But have your ears been busy enough with today's great mezzos and contraltos? Have a listen to the clip above and see if you could guess who the 9 singers of Cornelia and Sesto are! All the singers are pretty much contemporaries (though, unfortunately, not all are still with us)... And one of them has one Y chromosome too many, so to speak. :P tongue

15 comments:

thadieu said...

my best crack:
#1 Alice Coote (?)
#2 ASvO
#5 Prina (she has such a distinctive voice)
#6 Alice Coote (?)
@3.00: Jaroussky
@3.07: Marie-Lemieux (sp?)

:-D

Smorg said...

Hey An: 4 1/2. Nice 1st stab! ;o)

thadieu said...

ah, smorgy, first stab indeed, though might be my best stab too! i don't know the rest of the singers on that picture (neither face nor voice), so am not sure how i could even attempt the other 4.5 ;-) Actually in the duets, the only very distinctive voices i hear are those of Prina's and Jaroussky's. we might have to wait until Eyes finished dwelling into that alcina dvd before she can enlighten me on this clip ;-)

stray said...

3/4 Kirchschlager/Bardon?
9 LHL?
1 stumps me

yvette said...

1-Mary Westbrook-Geha (and later on my beloved Lorraine Hunt ... but I got lost as usual.) I love these crafty questions on beautiful lamenti, the best one here...I think they are togerther in 7-8 ?
Big hugs Smorgy I'm back and you're away!

eyesometric said...

Eyes has indeed ( temporarily) stopped delving into the Alcina DVD but currently she is working hard on the Sack Sanderling post. She will be back!!!

Smorg said...

Hey An, Stray, Yvette, and Eyes:
Nice try all! Looks like you've all combined to solve this... Just have to put the list together and it's done. ;o)

eyesometric said...

This one is too tough for me Smorgy. There's faces on there I don't even recognise never mind voices.!

thadieu said...

grrr, i just lost the entire reply because i didn't log in to my account, grrrrr :-)

so, i'll attempt to put together the list here:
1) Mary Westbrook-Geha (from Yvette)
2) ASvO
3) Kirchschlager (from Stray)
4) Bardon (from Stray)
5) Prina
6) Alice Coote
7) Jaroussky
8) Marie-Nicole Lemieux
9) LHL (from Stray)

I have no clue who LHL is. also don't know #1 & #4, and have not heard Kirchschlager before... :-)

ps- so it seems am able to recognize voice, which is a physical characteristic, but not tunes, which require more knowledge of the music language :-) )

Smorg said...

That's an ace for you, Dr. T (along with accomplices Stray & Yvette), and thanks for trying, Eyes! :oD

I confess I got a bit tricky splitting the pair of Mary Westbrook-Geha and Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson up as #1 and #9.

I'm afraid LHL is no longer with us (cancer took her from us way too soon a few years back). I never got the chance to hear her live, but from the recordings she left behind she was in a class of her own. I don't think her timbre was all that unique, but her viola-like sound sure was. :o) It seems Mary Westbrook Geha isn't singing on the international circuit anymore, but she seems to be doing fine running her own performing company and teaching. A bit of a loss for us. I love her voice!

Angelika Kirchschlager... I must insist on sending you over to Anik's tutorial ( http://aniklachev.wordpress.com/2008/03/18/through-geschwitzs-lorgnette-got-me-covered/ ) to catch up with her, Dr. T. :oD There is no better place for it...

Thanks very much everyone for playing! Hope your week is going well. :o)

thadieu said...

that was some tutorial, i camped there for nearly 1/2 hr admiring the photos...

eyesometric said...

Thanks for the tip off Dr. T. Enlivened my morning remarkably ;)
and thanks Smorgy for pointing us newbies at goodies we missed!

yvette said...

I am ashamed of myself...fancy not finding it was Lorraine Hunt in 9... I love her voice and the way she acts this part so much (the DVD is worth having just for the two of them and also the quite funny transposed Roman Empire in present days...)
Thank you Smorgy, it was a challenging and rather hard exercise!

stray said...

a bit of LHL's Didon is fairly representative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SYupWwmY70

a bit of Kirchschlager's Sesto (Mozart) also:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s6F_xVmuyc

(though iirc she was singing Annio to ASvO's Sesto @Met about the time of this taping, which, [sigh].)

Smorg said...

Sure glad you enjoyed the tutorial, Dr. T & Eyes. ;oD I'm always happy to pass happy stuff like that around!

No shame in missing LHL there, Yvette! I was a bit wicked in splitting her up from her partner in crime. You're right indeed that that DVD is worth having for LHL and Mary Westbrook-Geha. Their voices really matched up well... And Hunt-Lieberson was indeed very special. I think Mozart would have loved her, since he had a thing for the viola (and the clarinet)... and she sounded very much like a soulful viola.

Thanks very much for the great intro clips, Stray! Aren't we living in a blessed age for the versatile mezzos or what, ay? ;o)