Jose Cura is a force, not a singer. For an act or so tonight I wondered if this means he can't actually sing -- under any conventional understanding of the term anyway -- but it turns out he can. I do wonder in what percentage portions of how many of his performances this comes out, however.
House debutee Malgorzata Walewska has a rich, vibrant lower register: a real asset. The rest is pleasing, though -- as one can hear on her comically overproduced website -- not as secure. But she worked within a fairly narrow dynamic and coloristic range, and seemed to have no particular ideas about phrasing or drama outside of her Act II showpiece (which was well carried off). I wasn't impressed by her bits of acting either, but as a cover (with just this one scheduled performance, and probably not a huge amount of rehearsal) she's owed a break on that stuff.
Walewska got a lot of applause, though. And much of the talk filing out seemed to be about her. Quite positive.