Debuts with other major American and European houses followed, and Fleming soon established herself as a major star.
Fleming’s opulent timbre lends itself particularly well to the lyrical heroines of Richard Strauss: she has enjoyed rapturous acclaim as his Marschallin, Arabella and Countess Madeleine, and recorded the title role of his lesser-known opera Fans of Fleming may declare themselves prepared to bask forever in the sheer loveliness of her sound, but it seems the soprano herself is more restless.
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Dessay's voice is light, and while she may not have the vocal heft of many of the singers who take on these roles, the delicacy and youthfulness of her voice are often ideally suited to the characters' tenuous emotional conditions, particularly Lucia, Elvira, and Giulietta.
She has plenty of substance to easily soar over the orchestra, though, and her coloratura is absolutely secure.
Renée Fleming, sop; Ben Heppner, ten; Eva Urbanová, ms; Iván Kusnjer, bar; CPO/Mackerras. Luscious and lachrymose, Fleming makes Dvorák’s tragic mermaid her own.
Warwick Fyfe, baritone; Amelia Farrugia, soprano; Emma Matthews, soprano; Brian Castles-Onion, conductor; Brett Weymark, conductor; Anthony Legge, conductor; Damien Beaumont, ABC presenter; Maree Ryan, chair of vocal studies, Sydney Conservatorium; Sarah Noble, opera critic; Anthony Clarke, Limelight critic; Greg Keane, Limelight critic; Ken Page, Limelight critic; Francis Merson, Limelight editor; Steven Murdoch, Limelight reader; Roberta Small, Limelight reader.