Well said.The limitations of her performance were particularly glaring in Act II, when Germont, Alfredo's father, arrived like a death knell to separate her from her last chance at happiness. Here, she was paired with Andrzej Dobber, whose dour, monochromatic baritone emphasized Germont's cruelty and self-righteousness, with no hint of his growing respect for Violetta's integrity and his sympathy for her, and the long duet pitted two equally stiff characters against each other. Ms. Poplavskaya simply flailed against Mr. Dobber's implacability, and this sequence, one of the richest in the opera, missed the intense development that Verdi wrote into both these people. It became part of the production's scheme without persuading us of its emotional truth.
My lingering thought now is Holy Crap, I have to see this modern Decker monstrosity every time I go to the Met for Traviata. It's one of my faves! How can this happen. My next thought, somehow comforting, is, well, who will agree to sing this Violetta here anyway. Only youngish and semi-athletic sopranos can do that riding the couch shit with any credibility. Seriously, of the Violettas that graced the Zeffirelli extravaganza in the past decade, only Cristina Galladro-Domas, the young Patricia Racette (but no more), Krassimira Stoyanova, maybe Anja Harteros, maybe Hei-Kyung Hong, maybe Mary Dunleavy can do this production to some degree (but will they agree to do it is another question). The list leaves out really good interpreters such as Ruth Ann Swenson, June Anderson, Renee Fleming, and Angela Gheorghiu. That blows, don't you think?