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What's up, everybody? We're L.A. comedy group, Obama's other daughters. And on our podcast, you download, we're discussing what's going on in the culture, everything from dating to therapy.


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Hi, guys, I'm Katie Lowes, actress, mom and host of the parenting podcast Katey's Krib. A show that helps women navigate the colossal changes that come with motherhood. You'll hear from resilient mamas, knowledgeable experts and me asking a whole lot of questions. It's real talk that offers real perspective on what it's really like to be a parent. New episodes publish every other Thursday. Listen to Katie's crib on the I Heart radio app or on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


Welcome to criminalize a production of scandal and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to another episode of criminality. This season, we're exploring the lives and motivations of some of the most notorious stalkers throughout history. I'm Maria Tomoaki. And I'm Holly Fry. Today, we are going to talk about a woman named Olga Geneina. And although she was a pianist herself, Olga is probably best known for her obsession with one of the greatest pianists of all time.


Franz List. Before we can really get into Olga story, we actually need to talk about list because you need to know about who he was to understand how we get to this stalking story. List was born in October of 1811 and he was born in a small town in Hungary, which actually, after World War One became part of Austria.


He was a child prodigy and his father was inspired by the life of another child prodigy whom, you know, as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


He moved the family to Vienna, where his son could study with the great composers and pianists of the time, including Mozart's rival, Antonio Salieri.


About a year later, the family moved to Paris, where List's father thought there would be more opportunity for his son to play and learn.


On March 9th of 1832, list for the first time saw a performance by violinist Niccolo Paganini. And we know that specific date because this was a magical moment for List, who was about 21 years old at the time. And this was the moment that he knew he could and would push himself to become a virtuoso pianist between 1839 to 1847, which puts him between the ages of twenty and thirty six.


List did indeed become known as a virtuoso pianist, which means he was a master at his craft. And it's this period that solidified him as the greatest pianist of all time.


And we're talking about then and still today. And list was part of the movement known as the romantic era, we've talked about this a little before, it fell between 1815 in 1910, and artists during this time, including composers, were establishing new stylistic and technical standards. And list became a major influence in this movement. His works had a measurable impact not only during the 19th century, but also on how classical music has been composed and performed ever since some of the other more recognizable names of this era.


Just to give you some context, our Mendelssohn, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, during his lifetime, this was considered to be bombastic both in his art and how he lived his life and that were bombastic comes up all the time.


When you're researching him, it's like every book. I feel like if you did a list drinking game with bombastic, you would be a train wreck at the end of each chapter, he'd be staying over.


So he was talented and he was influential as a composer, a pianist, teacher, conductor. I mean, the list is huge. He was even an author. But perhaps above all of that, he was a talented showman and he was known to have a larger than life personality. His performances became a combination of skill and flamboyance.


So most people probably don't think about classical music and musicians in this way. But list was super famous, if you're wondering just how famous we mean. He inspired something that became known as Listo mania. Yes, just like Beatlemania was more than a century before, the Beatles like this really is the first hyper attentive manic fandom, right? This is amazing.


This is the first time that people went nuts and his concerts were part of this because they were like nothing that anyone had seen before. Right. So before last, it was considered to be in bad taste if a musician played a song from memory. There's an anecdote, actually, that we came across where Chopin, who is actually a very good friend of list, he's quoted saying that playing from memory was arrogant and that doing so would make it appear that you were pretending that the composition you were playing was one of your own.


But list listed not rely on sheet music because of the way he played. Reading from a page would have been a difficult proposition, but it was also a really good way to cause a big stir.


Yes, Chopin, bless him, was so reserved when he was I could see where he would be like Fraud's, what are you doing right in front of like have another beer? Like I'm playing. Right? Because he thought that his performances should be more than a recital. By the way, that term recital is something that list coined, it seems kind of in the pejorative. But he really viewed his shows as theatrical events that were more than just the music.


And if playing from memory was bad, who then? This was at worst, unlike any other pianist in his day or before him list played his piano in such a way on stage that the audience could see his face while he was playing for them.


Oh, my God.


You know, I was reading that he actually also was the first person to walk from the wings out. Right. To sit down on his piano. And that, too, was scandal.


I will say this. If you've looked at historical portraits of list, particularly in his younger years. Yes. You would want to look at that face as much as possible. He was incredibly beautiful. Yes. And the long locks.


And anyway, we'll get going.


We're just going to wax rhapsodic about the handsomeness of France. I'm pretty sure I would have been a groupie on my show.


So in addition to facing the audience when he played for them, he was also very physical when he played the piano. And like I said, he had long walks.


His long hair would often become slick with sweat and he'd whip it around as he played. And I kind of like to think that it was kind of early headbanging that was going on behind the piano.


It would be accurate to say that ultimately he just captivated his audience.


So women swooned and they screamed and allegedly they threw their 19th century undergarments at him during his performance.


That had to be kind of a. A bit to get off, right? It's a tricky proposition if you've ever worn Pantelis and a corset over it, you know, they don't just like it's not an easy undressing. That's right. That's not just coming through your sleeve.


Like, OK, so for example, one woman who was sort of skulking around him and she ended up pouring the remaining tea from his teacup into her bottle, which was popular at the time, to carry with you.


It wasn't something weird.


And just like more modern artists on a celebrity level of, say, like a Mick Jagger or a David Bowie.


There were stories of women not just throwing their clothing onto the stage, but also stealing things from him like that tea in his teacup or, you know, slyly chopping locks of his hair off so he wouldn't notice or taking just whatever they could get their hands on from him. Yeah, I, I, I feel like I have read accounts where even things like cigarette butts that he had touched, they would take. Yeah. And like in their cleavage and like yeah.


Yeah. I think it was obsessive mania for sure. They screamed as well.


And it might not surprise you that among all of the things he was, including all of those very productive and artistic accomplishments, he was also really polarizing. No way. Yeah, a little bit.


Skoch, his friend, a German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, called him and we're quoting young Turk because of the rebellious and revolutionary way that he had about him. Clara Schumann, who is regarded as one of the most distinguished pianists of the romantic era, dismissed him as and this is a great quote that we both love the smasher of pianos.


I love it. And that is a great quote, because he actually was the specter of pianos. His aggressive playing style came to be known as and I'm going to quote that musical combat. So imagine you're watching him facing you from the stage and this is going on. And it looked like he was attacking his instrument when he played and he would often break the strings of pianos and damage the keys.


As an interesting aside, pianos were actually a little bit more delicate than the arm today, but it's not like they were made out of cardboard, you know. But you can also thank his performances for being the inspiration for manufacturers to improve and fortify piano construction.


And there is an account about his playing style that was relayed after someone had witnessed a performance he gave in Vienna. So imagine you have a ticket to see the amazing France list and you enter the theater and you find your seats. And as you settle in, you notice that on stage there are three pianos. Will there be guest artists? You might wonder.


That's a good guess, but not so much.


List would use all three pianos playing one after the other as he broke each of the first two with his dynamic and very passionate technique in a letter to one of his mistresses, he wrote about that show and he wrote, quote, My concert has just finished enthusiasm. Impossible to describe.


That night he received eighteen curtain calls and then he was ultimately carried out of the theater by his adoring fans. Eighteen curtain calls.


But that concert go on like four in the morning like I know, right? So no one had seen anything like this before. And the ever growing hysteria that surrounded list became known, as we mentioned earlier, as list of mania.


So besides destroying pianos, that we really can't be sure if he also vandalized hotel rooms, as one might do today. There's never any mention of it.


I believe he was polite to hotel room. I believe he was, too. I did see that he was polite to people who he he rode with as well in carriages. I think it was just the pianos that he took it all out.


We are going to take a quick break here. But when we come back, we are going to start talking about the groupies that all of this bombastic playing attracted. Hi, I'm Ali Wentworth. How do I grow a teenager in a pandemic? Well, that's exactly what I want to find out in my new podcast.


Go ask Ali. I'm asking experts to help me answer that question. For example, are quarantined teenage girls more apt to Instagram nude photos, or are they somehow going to end up on the dark web? Are teenagers getting ripped off by their new virtual education? And how do we deal with their overwhelming anxiety and uncertainty? And are they losing empathy? I'll be talking to experts and friends like my friend Brooke Shields. She'll reveal how her complicated sexual upbringing has influenced how she is as a mother to teenage girls.


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Welcome back to Criminalist. So let's talk now about 19th century rock stars and their groupies. So there were ways in which Franz Liszt lived up to the rock star image. Even then, he was a bit of a playboy and he had numerous liaisons with women he never married. But he did come close once of his many affairs. There are two women that stood out in his life, married good. And the princess Caroline Zayn Wittgenstein list and Marie were together for about a decade.


They actually had three children together.


And when that relationship ended, Marie decided to publish a then scandalous novel under the male pseudonym Daniel Stern. So this is one of those instances where it was fiction on a technicality, but it was a very thinly veiled fiction.


It was real, but the names were changed to write fairly.


And then there was Caroline and List and Caroline were actually supposed to be married. But that ceremony was called off on the eve of the wedding because Caroline, who had been married, previously discovered that her first marriage was still legally standing, at least in the eyes of the church, which meant they could not become Web the next day.


So enter Olga Olga Geneina with a cigar smoking feminist. Although if we're being correct, which we should be, she was a proto feminist. This was the time when the groundwork for feminism as we know it today was just beginning to form.


She stood out for a couple of reasons, but they're really just two big ones. She preferred to wear a jacket and trousers at a time when women didn't wear trousers and also for her bizarre behavior. Olga had been notoriously unstable during the time in her life when she lived in Budapest and now living in Paris. The time that her life intersects with list, she had picked up a reputation for being with, quote, Rudy. She was very jealous of other women and she was very aggressive.


So we actually have a good example of rowdy and aggressive. I think if we go a little bit deeper into the kind of person Olga was, if we take away her passion for list and just talk about her, this is a pretty telling example. So when an upcoming recital of hers was not promoted in local papers or didn't receive the glowing reviews she had expected, she was not above taking matters into her own hands.


And there's one anecdote that has her dressing as a man with a cane and visiting one of the newspaper editors who did not promote her, and she berated him while striking him in the face and chest with that cane aggressive.


Oh, I'm going to take us down a little side street about her mode of dress because her clothing choices were actually not entirely unprecedented at this time. So George Sonde, who we have named, checked on this show before and who was actually a very good friend of lists, she was with Chopin for many years. So they had a friendship together. She famously wore menswear during this period. And this was, as we said, this sort of period of Proteau feminism.


And donning those garments was actually an act of protest because it was, if you can imagine, now illegal in Paris for women to wear pants without a permit. Those permits were given to people whose jobs necessitated these so-called unladylike garments or to people who could offer up some health reason that they needed to wear them. Incidentally, that law was on the books in Paris until 2013. So let's just let our minds be blown for a moment.


Right now. Paris Sieda fashion right where it was illegal to wear your jeans until 2013, technically. But the point here is that in walking down the street in pants to assault a man with a cane. Olga Geneina was breaking multiple laws and she knew it. Yeah, I think she came like, oh, I didn't know I wasn't allowed to wear pants. She 100 percent knew. Right. So we mentioned earlier that she was also a pianist and she became one of List's students when she was about 24 or 25 years old.


But she set herself apart from his other students, though she wasn't quiet about the fact that she kept a revolver in her handbag.


And the other students were.


And I don't really blame them. They're kind of afraid of her.


When she showed up to class, I mean, I took piano lessons. I was younger. And if someone had showed up and said, hey, have you been practicing this sonata, by the way?


I have a gun, I would be like, oh, this is right. I'll play Hungarian Rhapsody faster.


I'm sorry, but it wasn't even just the revolver.


It was believed that she also carried a dagger and that the dagger with a poison to tip some sources also suggests that Olga was an opium user.


So this is a whole combination of things that really are. Wow. Which actually the opium use wouldn't have been all that weird at the time. She also carried around a small bag containing her stash of narcotics, and it said that there was also poisons in it.


And for any of those who listen to the first season of criminally sorry, but there's no word on whether or not that was arsenic in the bag. It's always about arsenic, that's always arsenic.


So I'm assuming it was ours, probably Olga Geneina was also one of the women who swooned over list and by swooned, we mean threatened his and her own life over an affair that the pair actually had in 1870. Olga just found herself madly infatuated with him and consequently madly jealous. She followed the women that she considered to be her rivals for his affection. And then she just started following list. All right.


So in the summer of 1871, after their affair was over, a list encouraged Olga to travel to New York to give piano performances, which I mean, at the very least would give him a break from her continuing emotional blackmail that had been going on. So Olga did go to New York, but once she arrives there, history kind of loses track of her story. And it's assumed that because list destroyed most of the letters that she sent him, that's why we don't really know.


But we do know a little bit about their correspondence from some of Olga's own records. And Maria is mentioning correspondents because we know that she continued to send him letters and in one letter she we quote, begs for a few gentle words from her beloved, but she did not get them. Liz replied, not what she was hoping. And again, we're quoting here, The violence of your feelings disturbs my peace of mind. Permit me, therefore, to inform you that I shall decline to accept any more of your strange ravings, at least until such time that you understand that no one who fails to observe God's laws can ever hope to find happiness.


You also need to reconcile your fate, which is the product, moreover, of your various acts of imprudence.


So it's a pretty serious burden.


Smarting from that, Olga plotted revenge on her once beloved list, and when she returned from New York in late 1871, she threatened to kill him upon her arrival. And she wasn't really shy about telling people what her plan was and sort of her life's ambition was to kill list and then commit suicide. And a few sources do report that she did swallow poison. And when a doctor was called to help her, it turned out that she hadn't actually swallowed anything that was dangerous at all.


Well, we are going to take another quick break and have a word from a sponsor, and when we return, we're going to talk about Olgas books and there will also be a little mention of the Who's Roger Daltrey and how he is connected to the story. Just keeps getting stranger and stranger.


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Welcome back to Criminalist. Let's now get into the kinds of things that were in Olgas memoirs, so to be clear, Olga and List were never in a committed relationship. Their affair lasted much less than a year, but it inspired her to write a lot more than just letters. She wrote her memoirs and her first book, published in 1874, was called Souveniring COSAC. That translates to memories of a Kozik. She wrote that under the pseudonym Robert Franz.


Now there was a real Robert Franz at the time. He was a German composer and he was one of List's contemporaries. So this had to have been a little bit awkward. And also, how confusing would it have been for him to see his name listed as the author of a kiss and tell book about a barely fictionalized version of one of his friends?


This book didn't make the splash that she had really hoped that it would. But the cover art actually sounds pretty great. It was list, but it was a caricature of him playing the piano for half clothed cherubs who were scattering flower petals at his feet and offering him wine upon reading lists.


Good friend whose name actually also was Olga.


She was the Baroness von Myon dog wrote to him that she was now going to have to quote this because her word was much better than anything that I would come up with disinfectant.


Her library on so list actually himself when he wrote back, she didn't seem very upset by the book or any of this.


But if you recall, this actually wasn't the first scandalous book starring him sold had it this.


He's been through this before. He's like, whatever happened in 1874, in 1875. So remember, it was just seven years. At this point. Olga went on to write two more books called Lezama Doing COSAC Anami, The Lebert ex that's loves of a classic by a friend of the ex and the Dieu pianist Aidala COSAC. That's the novel of The Pianist and the Cossack, which is very much a reference to him and her. Right. That's really not very well felt.


Right. She she self-identified as Kozik. That will come up again in a moment. So these books were ones that she also wrote under a pseudonym, but this time it was a different one. It was Sylvia Zerilli and her books were widely regarded as defamatory. Everyone knew exactly who and what she was referencing, and they were also kind of relegated to being Pulp Fiction. But she seemed quite proud of it. She sent copies to all of List's friends.


Well, it's a nice gift to get in, despite her books being and I'm going to do the quote unquote autobiographical. It was about this time when Olga was outed for a few things and these things did not include anything about list. So first, her last name was not Geneina, it was Zelinka. And I'm not fluent in Polish.


So my apologies to those of you who are she had taken the name to Nina from her husband, whom she had abandoned along with her child because of her passion for list.


And it also became known at this time that she was not a Cossack, nor was she a countess, as she had been telling people she was actually the daughter of a boot Polish maker. And her life, as she told it, was truly a work of fiction. That was probably the better work than those horrible novels. Right.


But historians are actually still untangling the reality of who Olga was and the life that she led, particularly after List's death. And in the end, with all sorts of damage done, it appears that she retreated and then went on to establish a piano studio in Geneva, hopefully less aggressive, maybe without the revolver, maybe her teaching style.


Right. She is really aggressive with her pupils list to list. Well, he walked away from everything as well, but in a different way. So around 1861 or maybe 1863, the dates seem to vary a bit, but those are the two that always pop up. He began living a more solitary life and he moved into a small apartment in a monastery just outside of Rome. And in July of 1865, he received the four minor orders of the Catholic Church, which when you receive these, they make you a low ranking clergyman.


It did not make him a priest, but he had considered priesthood when he was a teenager.


This career change was a huge surprise to many of his fans and to his peers and apparently to the Catholic Church, too. There's this great quote from a monk referring to him as Mephistopheles in the guise of clergy. This really was, I think, to contextualize it for modern comparison, right, like think of a rock star who is sort of known to be like think of Mick Jagger going, hey, I decided to become a monk about right.


It would be really, really strange. Yeah.


Liz died on July 31st, 1886. He was 74 at the time and living in Germany. And he had towards the end developed some health conditions such as edema and cataracts. But his cause of death was officially the result of pneumonia. And some historians actually theorized that he contracted pneumonia at a festival that was hosted by his daughter and his son in law.


The controversial German composer and conductor Richard Wagner, Sunni analyst, is really well known as the composer of the Hungarian rhapsodies, as well as the Faust Symphony.


But he was way more prolific than you might actually guess. He wrote in total more than 700 compositions. And in fact, you probably actually know some of them, even if you don't think that you do, including Hungarian Rhapsody. Number two, it hasn't fallen out of popularity even today. And it's been featured in cartoons including Tom and Jerry, as well as Bugs Bunny. And while his music has been used in cartoons, it's also really important to remember that he did change many things about how we write and play music today.


And he also inspired something else.


He inspired maybe my favorite part of the research, which is as soon as I found it, I was sending posters to Holly and Michael.


Are you that he inspired the 1975 movie Liz Domanick, directed and written by Ken Russell. So imagine, if you will, the opening scene, which is list played by the Who's Roger Daltry. That's where he shows up and he is performing to a crowd of screaming fans. Ringo Starr makes an appearance as the pope and the ending well, OK, so the ending, you're really just going to have to watch for yourself.


Here is what I really love about this. Like, did you think about the connection between Franz Liszt smashing his pianos and the who's Pete Townsend smashing his guitar? Yes, in fact, I originally thought that maybe I would talk a little about that and the show, like we would never have had Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitars on fire and damaging his absence. And like Keith Moon and Pete Townsend and all these guys who destroy their instruments, there's even there are pianists today who, as part of their performance, liked the piano on fire as they're playing.


You know, this would not have happened without France list. And so he changed everything.


Holly. Yes, what about this story here of Olga and Frons inspires your drink today?


OK, so today's Chaser is the winner in a head to head battle between two cocktails at my house. You know, it's exciting.


It's exciting. It's like a race. And I have two very different ideas. And I won't I won't entirely detail the losing drink because I'm keeping it in my pocket in case I want to use some variation of it for a future episode. I think that's smart.


The one that was discarded was a drink because of Olga Janina's cigar smoking. I immediately thought, Oh, I've got to do something with cognac, OK? Rice and cigars and cognac are so closely linked. And I was like, well, I'm going to play around with something that's kind of like a sidecar and I'll I'll sub out a different liquor for the the the orange liqueur that's normally in that right.


Nobody can see me, but I'm nodding along like I'm working.


I got to a place that was pretty good, but I still wasn't sure if that was the one for this episode. And then I had this idea for a cocktail called a smashed piano.


No, I'm sorry. I need a minute.


OK, I got my minute. I love any time that I destroyed Maria with that. That's really my goal.


And I'll say it works like every episode I just die.


So the smash piano, I wanted to make a drink that is white, like, you know, modern day piano keys. I believe we call that ivory. Right. But the drink is what it's an ivory drink.


Might look like it had gone off and it's not quite. So this is a very easy what I would call a one, two, three drink because there's just one ounce of each. It's an ounce of white rum, an ounce of Saint-Germain, which is elderberry liquor. Yeah. And then an ounce of your milky substance. I did milk, but you could do you could do a dairy milk. You could do any other like plant based milk or or nut based milk you want.


And you just give that a nice good shake in your shaker over ice and pour it ideally into like a chilled glass. And it is this yummy creamy. It's very dessert because the that liqueur is quite sweet. Yes. And the milk adds kind of enhances that sweetness.


You don't really taste any bite from the rum and it's just like a lovely little after dinner. Dessert drink. I think. So I have two questions for you. Yes. Do you have a glass recommendation for this one?


Because it is a dessert drink. I went to my favorite, the coupe, which right now most dessert drinks are often served because that nice wide mouth on it gives you like you could take a nice big sip and get that sweet, sugary, full mouthfeel. I would throw it in your fridge for a little while or even the freezer if you're short on time and just chill your glass because it just makes it that much better.


Excellent. My second question for you, ma'am, let me interview you.


OK, now the elderberry I'm a big fan of, but it's only come up once before and I can't recall what drink it was that you made with it. Do you remember? I know this was in season one, so I actually went.


So that was actually the drink that we did, which was not one that I came up with. It was one that I found. So was an early drink then the Julia Tufano up in. That's right.


Which just has like the tiniest amount of Saint-Germain. It's only a quarter of an ounce because it can really, like, overtake a drink. And if you didn't want a super sweet drink, you would not want to put as much as an ounce in, but. Right. I did it. You can always dial that back if it's a little too sweet for you and do more like three quarters of an ounce or even a half. But I like a one one one because it's easy.


You can use the same jigger cup and you're good. Excellent. That sounds delicious, thank you. Smashed piano. I got a major piano.


I have this dream. This is truly my dream of life, is that some poor soul will walk into a bar and ask for one of these weird drinks that I've got. Like, I don't know what you're talking about.


And they're like, listen to this. No, I swear it's real. It's real. I would like a smooth piano and be like, I don't know what that is.


I heard it on the Internet.


And with that and with that, you heard it here on the Internet. We hope you keep hearing us here on the Internet and that you come back and join us next week for more cackling and cocktails as well as more stalking. The drink I have planned for an upcoming episode is going to be one that Maria loves. I believe in my heart and soul.


Is it going to have? Is it going to be a brown bear? It is going to be a brown spirit at the heart of it. But I'm doing something wack a doodle with it. Well, I can't wait. That's going to be exciting for me. I can't miss it. So we hope to see you back here next week on criminality. And remember, drink responsibly. Criminality is a production of Shandley and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio for more podcasts from Shandley and Audio.


Please visit the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.