Renée Fleming

Soprano

Renée Fleming

Fleming's first major break came in 1988 when she sang the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera. In 1989, she made debuts with the New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 1991, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut. In 1997, Fleming sang her first Manon at the Opéra Bastille to glowing reviews.

As a youngster, Fleming enjoyed popular music and admired the talent of Joni Mitchell and others. In addition to the standard operatic repertoire, she performs new music, Broadway show tunes, and other popular genres.

Fleming sang in the world première of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles with the Metropolitan Opera, in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's first performances of Floyd's Susannah, and as Blanche in the world première of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, with the San Francisco Opera.

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Distant Light

Distant Light


Barber:

Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24

Bjork:

Virus

Joga

All is Full of Love

arr. Hans Ek

Hillborg:

The Strand Settings

world premiere recording


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Renée Fleming about the recording here.

‘Distant Light’ is Renée Fleming’s first foray into the hypnotic world of Scandinavian music. For her first new studio album in three years she has chosen to inspire and provoke with a daring mix of music.

The title comes from a poem in a new song cycle dedicated to Renée and here receiving its world premiere recording: Anders Hillborg’s ‘The Strand Settings’.

"At once atmospheric, elegiac and unsettling, the work was crafted with Ms. Fleming’s creamy voice in mind”, wrote the New York Times at its first performance in 2013. One of Sweden’s brightest star composers Hillborg has a close relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where this recording was made in February 2016 with its principal conductor Sakari Oramo.

Renée couples this with three songs by Björk in specially commissioned orchestrations by the brilliant Swedish composer and arranger Hans Ek, recorded here for the first time.

Why Björk? Both she and Renée are recipients of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. Both dare to be original. In the fascinating booklet interview Renée talks about her admiration for Björk: “Her originality is breathtaking. She just blazes her own path forward”. Renée chooses the songs which mean the most to her personally and musically.

“[The Strand Settings] already seems a classic with its declamatory vocal ardour, orchestral finesse, and communicative confluence of styles, from tinkling minimalism to a snatch of mock Handel. As she soars upwards on words like ‘stars’ and ‘freedom’ – Hillborg’s not afraid of the obvious – Fleming’s top register seems as golden as ever” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

“At once alluring and uneasy, the songs are a gift for Renée Fleming, whose siren-like soprano draws the listener on to the unknown. The atmosphere is potently captured by Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.” Financial Times, 6th January 2017 ****

“Fleming is in her best voice for Hillborg, sometimes digging into her lower range with great effect but also resorting to breathy mannerisms to characterise awed disbelief at the visions at hand…[she] finds much to connect with in the rhapsodic repetitions of ‘Jóga’. ‘All is Full of Love’ benefits from overdubbing: Fleming seems to be everywhere at once, with rather intoxicated effect” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“Fleming obviously relishes the atmospheric music that Hillborg provides for her, and her soprano sails and swoops through the generally wistful and gossamer textures that the orchestration provides” Opera Now, February 2017 ****

“As a vehicle for the soaring purity of Fleming’s voice, and as an evocation of Strand’s very finely etched sensibility, Hillborg’s settings are genuinely beautiful and their cumulative effect is powerful...And the three songs by Björk that end the disc don’t seem out of place either.” The Guardian, 11th January 2017 ****

“[Fleming] still commands the creamiest, spine-shiveringly sensuous timbre in the business. That’s evident throughout Knoxville, as is her excellent diction, an area often perceived as her weakness...There’s a much more ghostly, even ominous, atmosphere in Hillborg’s writing.” The Times, 6th January 2017 *****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Decca - 4830415

(CD)

$13.25

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Lehár: The Merry Widow

Lehár: The Merry Widow

sung in English


Lehár:

Die Lustige Witwe


Renée Fleming (Hanna Glawari), Nathan Gunn (Danilo), Kelli O’Hara (Valencienne), Alek Shrader (Camille)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus & Ballet, Sir Andrew Davis

Director and choreographer Susan Stroman

The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all Paris in Lehár’s enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!, Contact).

Stroman and her design team of Julian Crouch (Satyagraha, The Enchanted Island) and costume designer William Ivey Long (Cinderella, Grey Gardens, Hairspray) have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim’s. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo and Kelli O’Hara is Valencienne. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.

Bonus Feature: Backstage at the MET with members of the Cast

English, French and German subtitles

“Davis keeps Lehar's effervescent score bubbling along and this would be the perfect, light-hearted operatic fare to see in the New Year...There's a great sense of fun running through the entire cast. Fleming's Hanna Glawari is glamorously over the top, as is Nathan Gunn's Danilo, revelling in his wild life of drinking, gambling and grisettes at Chez Maxim's.” Gramophone Magazine

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0743900

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$15.25

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Lehár: The Merry Widow

Lehár: The Merry Widow

sung in English


Lehár:

Die Lustige Witwe


Director and choreographer Susan Stroman

The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all Paris in Lehár’s enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!, Contact).

Stroman and her design team of Julian Crouch (Satyagraha, The Enchanted Island) and costume designer William Ivey Long (Cinderella, Grey Gardens, Hairspray) have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim’s. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo and Kelli O’Hara is Valencienne. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.

Bonus Feature: Backstage at the MET with members of the Cast

English, French and German subtitles

“Davis keeps Lehar's effervescent score bubbling along and this would be the perfect, light-hearted operatic fare to see in the New Year...There's a great sense of fun running through the entire cast. Fleming's Hanna Glawari is glamorously over the top, as is Nathan Gunn's Danilo, revelling in his wild life of drinking, gambling and grisettes at Chez Maxim's.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Decca - 0743901

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$20.50

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Dvorak: Rusalka, Op. 114

Dvorak: Rusalka, Op. 114


Renée Fleming (Rusalka), Piotr Beczala (Prince), Dolora Zajick (Jezibaba), John Relyea (Water Goblin), Emily Magee (Foreign Princess)

Orchestra, Ballet & Chorus of The Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Dvorak’s enchanting fairytale of the water-nymph Rusalka has been a signature role for Renée Fleming for the past 25 years.

The Gramophone Classical Music Guide writes: “Renée Fleming's tender and heartwarming account of Rusalka's Song to the Moon reflects the fact that the role of the lovelorn water nymph, taken by her in a highly successful production at the MET in New York, has become one of her favourites”.

Here at last – in sumptuous HD – is that MET production by the late Günther Schneider-Siemssen and directed by Otto Schenk.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts with “sensitivity and urgency” (Financial Times)and the strong supporting cast includes Piotr Beczala “wonderful as the Prince, his tenor elegant and impassioned” (New York Times).

“For sumptuously costumed, traditionally picturesque opera productions, you don't need to look much further...This is favourite Fleming role and it is beautifully sung very beautifully, her creamy tone with slivery top notes still exquisite. Beczala is in heroic voice and throws in some gorgeous head notes in his death throes...Nézet-Séguin is alert to the score's Czech dance rhythms and wallows in Dvorak's rich orchestration.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

Blu-ray Disc

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Decca - 0743874

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$20.50

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Tonight

Tonight

Welthits von Berlin bis Broadway


Abraham:

Die Blume von Hawaii (from Die Blume von Hawaii)

Berlin, I:

Anything you can do I can do better (from Annie Get Your Gun)

Bernstein:

Maria (from West Side Story)

Tonight (from West Side Story)

Gershwin:

The Lorelei

Strike up the Band Overture

Fascinatin' Rhythm

Künneke, Eduard:

Dance Suite, Op. 26: Intermezzo

Ich bin nur ein armer Wandergesell (from Der Vetter aus Dingsda)

Leux:

Es leuchten die Sterne

Lincke:

Grigri: Overture

Berliner Luft March

Loewe, F:

I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady)

May, H:

Ein Lied geht um die Welt

Stolz, R:

Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein (from Der Favorit)

Zwei Herzen im Dreivierteltakt (from Zwei Herzen im Dreivierteltakt)

Tauber:

Du bist die Welt für mich

Weill, K:

Foolish Heart (from One Touch of Venus)


The Staatskapelle Dresden’s New Year’s Eve concert has become a much-loved fixture in the musical calendar. This year’s event, starring Christian Thielemann, Renée Fleming and Klaus Florian Vogt, will be released on both CD and DVD.

Steeped in tradition, the Dresden Semperoper has welcomed many prestigious figures to its podium, from Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner to the current Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, Christian Thielemann – a forward-thinking musician, but one who also has a healthy respect for the past. The Semperoper’s New Year’s Eve concert is a highlight of the holiday season and the perfect way for music-lovers to see out the Old Year and welcome the New. Broadcast live on ZDF in Germany and relayed by Unitel Classica to 27 different countries, it’s become a much-loved part of the seasonal festivities, its popularity due in large part to the fact that Thielemann and his orchestra deliver a finely balanced mix of the festive and the nostalgic, with touches of downbeat Weltschmerz amid the whirling waltzes.

This year’s programme, entitled Tonight, will take the audience on a dazzling journey from Berlin to Broadway, showcasing all the dynamism and drama of twentieth-century musical theatre: from kings of operetta Paul Abraham, Robert Stolz and Paul Lincke to masters of the musical Frederick Loewe, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.

Thielemann will steer a course between operetta classics such as Two Hearts in Waltz Time and Flower of Hawaii, and Broadway hits such as “Maria” and “Tonight” from West Side Story, stopping off along the way to perform numbers from less well-known works such as Gershwin’s Strike Up The Band, a satire in which the US declares war on Switzerland over the price of cheese!

Sharing the stage with Thielemann this year are two of the greatest singers of our time, soprano Renée Fleming and tenor Klaus Florian Vogt – ideal choices as far as the conductor is concerned. “It’s wonderful to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends,” he says. “I’ve worked with both of them many times and it’s always a delight, so I couldn’t ask for better company on the last night of the year.”

“The great thing about these operettas and musicals is that as well as the snappy rhythms and numbers in three-quarter time, there are always serious undertones too,” says Thielemann. “So yes, they’re perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration, but because they’ve been part of the classical repertoire for so long now, they also give us a kind of timeless insight into human hearts and souls.”

The recording is a ZDF production in co-production with Unitel. Broadcast date: 31 December 2013, live on ZDF from 5.30pm (CET)

DG - 4792483

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$13.25

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Renée Fleming: Guilty Pleasures

Renée Fleming: Guilty Pleasures


Berlioz:

Villanelle (from Les nuits d'été, Op. 7)

Canteloube:

La Delaïssado (2nd series, no.4) from Chants d’Auvergne

Malurous qu’o uno fenno (3rd series, no.5) from Chants d’Auvergne

Corigliano, J:

Once there was a golden bird (from The Ghosts of Versailles)

Delibes:

Les filles de Cadix

Sous le dôme épais (from Lakmé)

Susan Graham (mezzo)

Duparc:

Phidylé

Dvorak:

Za tihlou Gazelou (from Armida)

Falla:

Nana (No. 5 from Siete canciones populares españolas)

Canción (No. 6 from Siete canciones populares españolas)

Rachmaninov:

Twilight, Op.21 No. 3

Refice:

Ombra di Nube

Smetana:

Vendulka"s Lullaby (from The Kiss)

Strauss, J, II:

Frag mich oft (Walzer aus Wien)

Tchaikovsky:

Undina's Aria (from Undina)

trad.:

Londonderry Air

Wagner:

Träume (No. 5 from Wesendonck-Lieder)


Renée Fleming (soprano)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Sebastian Lang-Lessing

A sequel to the album - Beautiful Voice - that sold 187,000 copies and won Fleming a Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Performance. Fleming was seen by millions singing at the Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

‘Guilty Pleasures’ is an album of sheer indulgence: the beautiful voice of Renée Fleming in a new and very personal selection of songs and arias featuring a feast of music, much of which we might never hear her sing on stage. For our pleasure she has chosen to record many famous arias from roles which are not normally associated with her repertoire: romantic highlights from operas by Dvorak, Smetana and Tchaikovsky among many others.

Two twentieth-century American composers offer the chance for Fleming to sing in her native tongue –the Irish folksong Danny Boy and John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.

Susan Graham joins Renée for the celebrated Flower Duet from Lakmé.

Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra in a programme that ranges from Berlioz via Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Smetana, Wagner and Rachmaninov to Canteloube, Delibes and Massenet.

Renée Fleming will be awarded the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal by the President of the USA on July 10th. The recognition is for her contributions to American music. Known to many as “the people’s diva,” Ms Fleming has captivated audiences around the world with an adventurous repertoire spanning opera and the classical tradition to jazz and contemporary pop.

“The American soprano takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Europe on this offbeat and enjoyable album...The diva is in peachy voice throughout.” Sunday Times, 19th January 2014

Decca - 4785107

(CD)

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Recorded live at Semperoper Dresden, September 2012


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Wolf, H:

Verborgenheit (No. 12 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Er ist's (No. 6 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Mignon II 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' (No. 6 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)


The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.

Christian Thielemann’s first concert as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Both Thielemann and Fleming are renowned interpreters of Romantic repertoire.

Bruckner’s 7th Symphony premiered in 1884 to universal acclaim & established him as a serious composer of symphonic music, Wolf’s Songs were composed four years later.

Wolf was a great admirer of Bruckner and both idolized Wagner, whose influence is felt in the 7th Symphony.

Running time: 106 minutes

Subtitles N/A

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Thielemann's interpretation of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony is majestic and clean, as expected, though it falls just short of the cumulative power that the audience's warm reception suggests. The camera's close scrutiny underlines how minimal his conducting can be.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - September 2013

Blu-ray Disc

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Opus Arte - OABD7127D

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$33.50

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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492


Gerald Finley (Figaro), Alison Hagley (Susanna), Andreas Schmidt (Count Almaviva), Renée Fleming (Countess Almaviva), Marie-Ange Todorovitch (Cherubino), Manfred Röhrl (Bartolo), Wendy Hillhouse (Marcellina), Robert Tear (Don Basilio), Donald Adams (Antonio), John Graham-Hall (Don Curzio), Susan Gritton (Barbarina)

Glyndebourne Festival Opera & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor) & Stephen Medcalf (director)

Stephen Metcalf’s production of The Marriage of Figaro opened the new Glyndebourne Theatre in 1994. It is a story of the young engaged couple Figaro and Susanna, and the comedy of romantic fiascos involving the Count and Countess Almaviva, Dr Bartolo and his housekeeper Marcellina, the page Cherubino, and the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina.

SUBTITLED IN ENGLISH, FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH

189 MINS • ALL REGIONS • NTSC 4:3 • COLOUR • L-PCM STEREO

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Region: all

Warner Classics Warner Vision - 2564646101

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$20.75

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Renée Fleming in Concert

Renée Fleming in Concert

Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, August 2011


Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Winterliebe Op. 48 No. 5

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29 No. 1

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Gesang der Apollopriesterin Op. 33 No. 2

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Arabella: excerpts

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64


Gloriously affirming the Salzburg Festival’s long-standing reputation as a supreme musical event, this concert honours one of its founding fathers, Richard Strauss. Renée Fleming, Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra unite for a programme of song, opera and tone poem, genres central to the composer’s extraordinarily fruitful career. Fleming interprets four of his songs with orchestra, including the deeply moving Befreit, and provides a substantial taste of perhaps her finest operatic role, Arabella. New vistas then open as Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic take the spectacular mountain journey mapped by the composer in his titanic Alpine Symphony.

Running time: 84 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“You can immediately hear the classiness of the orchestral support...Thielemann's journey up the mountain is more a question of inner feeling than outward tone-painting...But the summit sequence and the epilogue rival Herbert von Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic for tonal opulence...the cameras always know what to pinpoint in order to highlight visually Strauss's most ingenious orchestral passages.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 *****

“This is a rare case of visuals enhancing the listening experience, and the Vienna Philharmonic’s Strauss tradition is there for all to see. Thielemann doesn’t push or pull the music, but he is not a pretty sight: his left hand remains inexpressive...there is still no soprano I would rather hear in the soaring lines of “Traum durch die Dämmerung” and “Gesang der Apollopriesterin”.” Financial Times, 19th May 2012 ****

“Thielemann, whose reading is satisfyingly spacious, reveals the work's structural mastery in intermingling and transforming its many themes. The excellent video director Michael Beyer expertly lays out the orchestra in front of us, following the music sensibly so that we can relish Strauss's detailed scoring...[Fleming] sings gloriously and the result is ravishing” Gramophone Magazine

“it is more fun to actually see the players (kudos to video director Michael Beyer) than merely to listen...And no one will accuse the reading [of Ein Alpensinfonie] of not being exciting and the playing superb...In all, this is clearly a treat for Straussians and Fleming fans; she has been both better and worse, but overall, she's lovely here.” International Record Review, September 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - August 2012

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7101D

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$28.00

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Strauss, R: Capriccio

Strauss, R: Capriccio


Renee Fleming (Countess Madeleine), Joseph Kaiser (Flamand), Morten Frank Larsen (Count), Russell Braun (Olivier), Sarah Connolly (Clairon), Peter Rose (La Roche), Olga Makarina, Barry Banks (Italian Singers)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis, John Cox (director)

Following the success of Fleming’s Der Rosenkavalier DVD, live from the Met comes Fleming’s interpretation of Strauss’s chamber-opera, Capriccio.

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0743454

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$22.00

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