Thursday, November 08, 2007


Violetta is a star who discovers that she can no longer be a person. (She knew it all along, but who turns down an interlude of honest romantic happiness?) Renee Fleming is a star who insists on being a person: the single-mom, down-home image -- and self-image! -- etc. Never shall the twain really meet, but if you don't mind that, the current Traviata revival at the Met is about as good as you'd want, well sung all around (Polenzani is terrifically sincere as always, and Croft still has the resources to carry his wonderful phrases) with few hitches. Fleming does all of Addio del passato, which I appreciate.

It is tears that are somewhat lacking. But then, I (like my seat-neighbors, from what I've been able to tell) haven't been so moved by other big names in the part either, nor even up-and-comer Krassimira Stoyanova (who did, mind you, sing memorably last season). Perhaps they've learned our modern lesson too well: the star can have everything -- family, happiness, success. But that's a pop star's story, not a tragic heroine's. And who chooses the latter who doesn't have to?

(Fortunately and unfortunately, some still have to.)

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.