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Reviewing a July 10, 2001, of Massenet's Manon by the Opéra de Paris with Renée Fleming in the title role, Stephen Mudge wrote in Opera News of October 2001:  "The American soprano's interpretation provided a complex, rounded character, but one that missed Manon's endearing, naïve simplicity.  This was a naughty prima donna on the make rather than a sixteen-year-old discovering life.  The sophistication extended to her singing, and although the soprano was in lustrous voice on July 10, an effort to bathe in the sensuality of the text and music led the artist to some droopy floated sounds that, though beautiful, were better suited to Strauss than Massenet."
A June 27, 2001, performance of Manon at the Opéra de Paris, starring Renée Fleming and Marcelo Alvarez, is reviewed at musicweb.uk.net by Frank Cadenhead.
"Fleming's voice showed its full luster, and her 'Willow Song' and prayer in the final act were all the audience could have wanted."  AP Entertainment Review, September 23, 2001, of Chicago Otello.
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"Have you read a novel by Ann Patchett called Bel Canto?" Renée Fleming asked in a conversation with Peter Conrad for an article in The Observer of 6 January 2002. "I'm trying to get it produced as a movie -- for TV, probably. It's about me."
"[B]eauty is, of course, only skin-deep – and so was this recital," wrote Edward Seckerson in a review for the Independent of 22 January 2002 entitled "Renée Fleming: Gorgeous banality."  The recital was at London's Barbican on Sunday 20 January 2002.

Tim Ashley wrote a more positive
review for the Guardian.
Yahoo! group:  bartoli (List to discuss Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and Frederica von Stade)
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Bruno Campanella conducted the Metropolitan Opera's premiere of Vincenzo Bellini's Il Pirata on October 21, 2002, with Renée Fleming as Imogene, Marcello Giordani as Gualtiero, and Dwayne Croft as Ernesto.

According to the
Associated Press review, Renee Fleming "had only mixed success," while Marcello Giordani and Dwayne Croft were "superb."

Martin Bernheimer wrote for
ft.com:  "As Imogene, the hapless heroine torn between the pirate she loves and the duke she married, Fleming must do a lot of limpid, graceful, ethereal singing in moments of reflection. She does these beautifully. She also must do a lot of gutsy, passionate, bravura singing in moments of desperation, frenzy or fury. She does these correctly and rather blandly. It isn't enough."

Peter G. Davis wrote for
New York magazine:  "[I]n true prima donna fashion, she dominates the proceedings and does things her way. It has been alarming to hear this treasurable soprano transform herself into such a mannered singer lately, and I'm afraid she has finally lost me. As Imogene, the hapless heroine in love with a pirate but saddled with a husband, she teases Bellini's nobly sculptured melodies mercilessly, tugging them out of shape, overdoing hairpin dynamics, scooping into the notes with an inappropriate bluesy bending of the pitch, distorting the vocal line with all sorts of explosive effects, and in general interpreting the music out of all recognition. Everything sounds extremely affected, even phony -- all the more deplorable now that this important voice has reached its mature high noon and should be delivering great performances."
Article at theage.com.au, April 4, 2002
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April 7, 2002, review in Sydney Morning Herald of April 9, 2002

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