Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden (1874-1967) portrayed Goethe's character Gretchen, known as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust. Bettmann/CORBIS hide caption

itoggle caption Bettmann/CORBIS

Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979. Ron Scherl/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Ron Scherl/Redferns/Getty Images

Reneé Fleming (right) and Susan Graham — two "cheerful Americans" often mistaken for each other — are planning an intimate evening of French song. Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging hide caption

itoggle caption Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein has a passion for rhythmically free musical lines. Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist

Renee Fleming in the title role of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at the Washington National Opera. Karin Cooper via Washington National Opera hide caption

itoggle caption Karin Cooper via Washington National Opera