17 Apr 2008
Kathleen Battle, Carnegie Hall, New York
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By Martin Bernheimer [Financial Times, 15 April 2008]
Understatement: Kathleen Battle has had an unusual career.
In 1994 she was at the peak of her powers, a lyric-coloratura of uncommon refinement, intelligence and charm. Though small, her silver-bell soprano was perfectly focused. She deserved her place as an international star attraction. Her backstage image, however, seemed less benign. Colleagues reportedly endured outrageous prima-donna indulgences and ego tantrums. Joseph Volpe, macho head of the Met, made a public point of firing her before a revival of La fille du régiment. She never returned to opera.