“This is a happily chosen Strauss showcase for Fleming. Her creamy, full-toned, vibrant voice is about the ideal instrument not only for the Marschallin but also for the other parts she attempts here. She has mastered the phraseology and verbal inflexions needed for all three roles, and imparts to them a quick intelligence to second the vocal glories. Sometimes her performance as the Marschallin or Countess Madeleine recalls, almost uncannily, those of Schwarzkopf, leaving one in no doubt that she has studied the readings of her distinguished predecessor. If Schwarzkopf with a slightly slimmer tone has the finer line and quicker responses, her successor provides the richer tone. Fleming need fear no comparisons with more recent interpreters such as Te Kanawa, Tomowa-Sintow and, as Madeleine only, Janowitz.
Indeed, Fleming's account of the closing scene of Capriccio is just about ideal. Her deluxe team of co-stars includes Susan Graham, who makes an ardent suitor in Rosenkavalier's Act 1 duets; her timbre is so similar to Fleming's that it's hard to tell them apart, though she isn't as verbally acute as her partner. And Barbara Bonney finally commits an extract of her enchanting Sophie, the best since Lucia Popp's; she also joins Fleming in the Arabella-Zdenka duet. Even the cameo appearances of a lackey at the close of Act 1 of DerRosenkavalier, of Faninal after the Act 3 trio, and the major-domo in the closing scene from Capriccio, are filled by the veteran Walter Berry. Under Eschenbach, the VPO plays immaculately – the horn solo in the Moonlight music is pure magic – and the sound quality is outstandingly life-like. A treat for Straussians.”