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Old Fashioned

Fleming at HGO

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I had the pleasure of attending opening night of La Traviata yesterday to hear Renée's first Violetta. This having only been my 3rd opera going, I am not discerning enough to know if she did "good" or not, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and she was very well received by the audience (I'm not sure if it's because it was great performance or because she's a big opera star, or maybe both). Alfredo was played by Paul Charles Clarke and Bruno Caproni replaced Dwayne Croft as Germont. Clarke didn't get as enthusiastic applause as Caproni did. Everyone loved his Germont. It was truly something to look forward to, and I will be talking about it for ages to come.

Glancing around at the audience, I still did not spy a gradual growth in numbers of teenagers attending the opera, despite the discussions about the trend on this board. Perhaps it was where I was sitting, which was third row from the orchestra pit, what I like to call the "rich donors' section" (I still cannot believe I sat there for a mere $25! Adults around my paid $200+ more than I had to; I feel like such a cheat). The only people I spotted around my age or younger, besides my friend and myself, were a few girls with their parents. It could have also been the night I attended, whereas teens might prefer matinees. When Fleming said awhile back that Houston was a "cultural backwater," despite our second largest theater district in the country, I thought this was probably why, but she has since taken that comment back. However, I saw a crowd of teens (looked like dancers to me) lining up for tickets to Dance Salad. Maybe the trend here is still "ballet is cool and popular." I hope to go to Dance Salad tomorrow night; I can hardly wait to see the Het Nationale in action!

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Originally posted by Old Fashioned

she was very well received by the audience (I'm not sure if it's because it was great performance or because she's a big opera star, or maybe both [/b]

From the way the opera boards are buzzing, it seems to be both. The Fleming flappers were out in force--they love anything she does. Many others think that while whe may not yet be the new Violetta for the ages, it may be a role for her. She will bring it to the Met next year.

Pirate tapes of the performance are already circulating. Those who have never liked Fleming still don't.

Violetta is one of the most difficult roles in the Italian rep. In order to do it full justice a singer must be able to sing bel canto type coloratura complete with trills, exact staccato and fioratura; have a dramatic voice with the strength and cutting power to soar over or slice through the sound of the massed orchestra for page after page; and have a real lyric quality, always meltingly beautiful and expressive.

And by the way, she should be able to do all the above with no obvious register breaks, hit every attack dead on the middle of the note, have the breath control of an underwater swimmer and be a convincing actress.

She should also be physically beautiful and wear a size 8 (or smaller).

If she is all of that, she will still be compared unfavorably to some conveniently retired or (even more conveniently) dead soprano, who "owned" the role at the Met, La Scala or Covent Garden.

And she better do the unwritten by Verdi but generally interpolated high Eflat at the end of "Semper Libre", or her entire performance will be judged a failure.

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"And she better do the unwritten by Verdi but generally interpolated high Eflat at the end of "Semper Libre", or her entire performance will be judged a failure."

This sounds suspiciously rather like those who go on about fouettes?:(

I like her a great deal, am looking forward to next year at the Met, and am happy that many were able to hear her in Houston....

Juliet

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Ed, there have been some recent singers who've earned praise in the part without being flawless. The situation's not quite that bad. :) And some of those dead sopranos were pretty darn good.....

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