(Renée Fleming, ossia Violetta Valéry - La Traviata: Covent Garden, Londres, Junho de 2009)
«But Ms. Fleming’s Violetta was the big news. Few sopranos of comparable popularity have sung as many varied and unusual roles as she has: everything from Handel’s Rodelinda to Massenet’s Manon, from Dvorak’s water nymph Rusalka to Carlisle Floyd’s sensual and naïve young Susannah. She has sung most of the Mozart heroines and major roles like Verdi’s Desdemona and Strauss’s Marschallin, which she will again take to New York this season when the Metropolitan Opera presents “Der Rosenkavalier.”
But Ms. Fleming has avoided the touchstone roles in Verdi and Puccini with which most leading sopranos are expected to ante up. With one exception: Violetta. She introduced it in 2003, first at the Houston Grand Opera and then at the Met. The public was enthusiastic, but the critical reception mixed. I found that first Met Violetta sumptuously sung and involving, if a little cautious.
There was nothing cautious about Ms. Fleming’s performance here on Monday. For sheer ease and accuracy in dispatching the coloratura flights in Act I, there are other sopranos who can top Ms. Fleming’s technique. But in her performance each run and turn emanated from a melodically coherent and dramatically penetrating phrase. Her coloratura roulades conveyed emotional ambiguity, the coquettish facade of a kept woman determined to convey pride and sexual allure, while her shame lurks just below the surface.
Ms. Fleming’s critics object to her penchant for inflecting lines with expressive twists and tugs. But on this night the interpretive touches and vocal colorings she brought to her singing seemed not at all calculated: rather, spontaneous expressions of feeling. Even little vocal glitches and some strained top notes were such a part of this intensely felt portrayal that they were hardly noticeable.»