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May 07, 2006


Jamie Hart

Wow! Finally, a voice of reason. This is the most thoughtful and balanced discussion of any issue involving La Fleming I've read in years (at least in the Blogisphere). Opera criticism has become so nasty and partisan of late (not unlike our national politics) that it threatens to destroy the intellectual integrity of the exercise itself. Your fairness and thoroughness are wholly admirable--and much needed. Quite apart from its own merits, this recent exchange suggests that you could have a very positive impact on these young enthusiasts. (I assume they're very young, given that in their world everything 'sucks' or doesn't!) Perhaps you can serve as an antidote to the mean-spirited and intellectually dishonest blatherings of La Cieca! You'd be doing the world a great service. Good luck. I'll keep an eye on this blog.

Lisa Hirsch

In my experience, the people who are most down on the current generation of singers are older - stuck in the 1950s or 60s or even earlier.

But, regarding Fleming, she has habits that I would think would get in the way of being a good Handel singer. She has a beautiful voice and excellent technique - but to my ear, she is poorly connected to the musical line. Her attempts at rubato or any kind of rhythmic flexibility sound awkward and as though they're applied as effects rather than coming from an internalized sense of the music and how it's built. She's also not rhythmically incisive, in my experience.

More subjectively, because it's not something I can prove, she sounds to me as though she simply has no heart. All of the emotional content in her singing seems faked. I here note that I don't own any of her records; I've seen live several times and have heard a number of broadcasts. About the only thing I've actively liked her in was Don Giovanni, as Donna Anna, in the Met telecast some years back.

Compare with LHL to see how it should be done, both emotionally and musically.

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