Successful engagements in Rome followed, leading to his La Scala and Met debuts. He quit the Met in acrimonious circumstances, however, and the resultant legal action stopped him performing again in the United States. He was celebrated during his best years for the finesse with which he used his rich, flexible voice. The most notable aspect of his performance style was the nimbleness of his bel canto technique. This enabled him to produce spectacular messa di voce and pianissimo effects.
Unfortunately, Fleta's singing became increasingly self-indulgent as his career progressed. By the late 1920s, as recordings show, his voice had deteriorated badly, with his vibrato loosening to an undesirable extent. Fleta died in straitened circumstances in 1938. He nonetheless left a legacy of sometimes fascinating records, many of which are available on CD reissues. Read more on Last.fm.
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