14 November 2005

Maureen O'Flynn

Months ago, upon hearing that Natalie Dessay had agreed to sing Juliette at the Met this season, Sieglinde wondered who her cover would be. Sieglinde is psychic. She's also less depressed by today's breaking news than you'd expect. Maureen O'Flynn, the new Juliette in this evening's new Met production premiere, is not an entirely unknown quantity to Sieglinde. She's seen her twice at the Met in recent years: a Gilda and a Violetta, and both were more than competent performances. She displayed a gorgeous light lyric soprano, clear and seamless in the upper registers, and able to fill the Met cavern effortlessly. And whereas recent Violettas and Gildas have been avoiding the optional high E-flat to end their respective signature arias, O'Flynn faced both challenges without any trepidation, and spun them with a breathtaking yellow gold hue. I remember asking myself why she wasn't a bigger star than she was. Now is her chance to sparkle.