In the September issue of Opera News Stephen J. Mudge reviewed Renée Fleming singing Arabella in Paris. He likes Renée's "creamy" sound, meaning her legato I suppose, but hates her German diction. He notes that the other singers have better diction and thinks they should be teaching their diction to her. These other singers, he notes, are lacking in creaminess. He points out that the audience went mad for Fleming, but he appears to have no idea why.
Ok. You have to pick one. You get to have a "creamy" sound OR you get to have really good German diction. Renée has made her choice, and no amount of complaining is going to make her change her mind. People in Paris don't speak German so they won't care. You want Renée Fleming or you don't.
If you know of someone who has both creaminess and diction, please tell me who. My recollection is that people also complained bitterly about Schwarzkopf's diction, though I don't recall having any trouble understanding her. There is a tendency today for German operas to be sung in a very talky way, as though all operas, including Strauss and Wagner, were buffa. I don't care for this all.
Modified to reflect journalism.
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