What, if any, is the number of press (and TV, etc.) clippings n, after which these non-sonic perspectives are so charged that it literally does not matter what sounds come out of a performer's mouth?It seems to me that Renee Fleming reached this point years ago, at least in the United States. That's not to say that she's always or even often below par, but that it simply does not matter to her career and public perception. (I note that next month's Onegins -- her first Tatyanas in a major house -- sold out in a flash despite a very poor Letter Scene at last year's Met Orchestra concert.)
And that's why I've called Anna Netrebko the Russian Renee. But she should be careful, for she may not have hit that point yet -- at least in the United States.