"The role often seems like that a a very refined lady...which may be a Gigi-esque conceit. In Stritch’s work, there was the Stritch-like grit and grim. Her portrayal included the aspect of a hooker who’d amassed a fortune, not a grande dame. I liked it."
I don't know if it's a GIGI-esque conceit. Regardless, several of Mme. Armfeldt's lines indicate that she is supposed to be an ex-courtesan with good breeding and a tremendous amount of class -- which she developed in order to become a successful courtesan. I really don't think she's supposed to sound like a hard-bitten, caustic old lady with a gravelly voice. Stritch played Mme. Armfeldt as Elaine Stritch, and while there may have been a certain amount of pleasure and fascinating in that, it's not the character as written.