Renée Fleming - Buzz

Chicago Tribune

12 September 2011

Lyric, Merit School partnership aims to foster new voices

Lyric, Merit School partnership aims to foster new voices

By John von Rhein

Nine months ago, when Lyric Opera named Renee Fleming to its newly created post of creative consultant, the superstar soprano excitedly outlined a broad agenda of plans she had for the company, including creating new projects, expanding the Lyric's education program and collaborating with other Chicago arts organizations and music schools.

Now the famed singer, who also serves an advisory position as a member of the Lyric board, has unveiled an ambitious project that will encompass all those objectives.

And her excitement is, if anything, even more pronounced.

With Fleming as the project's spearhead, Lyric has entered into a wide-ranging collaboration with Chicago's Merit School of Music, a nationally recognized community music school based in the city's Near West Side neighborhood, that will bring a major expansion of the school's vocal program, with Lyric sharing its extensive resources with Merit students throughout the school year.

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Chicago Tribune

10 September 2011

Lyric's new ads reach out to the wary

Lyric's new ads reach out to the wary

By John von Rhein | View PDF

Lyric Opera of Chicago is pumping more passion into its sales pitches.

It's also spreading that passion into local nooks and crannies where opera is regarded — if it's regarded at all — as an exotic foreign language.

In an aggressive new advertising campaign set to launch across the metropolitan area this weekend, the company is going all out to attract the attention of people who have resisted experiencing opera in the flesh.

"Long Live Passion" is the rubric for a series of tongue-in-cheeky ads splashing Lyric's name across billboards, in bus shelters, in selected newspapers and magazines, and over the Internet — places where few folks would expect to come across drum-beating for opera.

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Chicago Sun Times

9 September 2011

Lyric wants opera for everyone

Lyric wants opera for everyone

By Andrew Patner | View PDF

When Lyric Opera of Chicago announced in December that the world’s starriest diva would be joining its artistic team as creative consultant, the company emphasized that this was to be the “Renee Fleming Initiative.”

A few months later, when Anthony Freud was un­veiled as Lyric’s general director designate, there was talk of a new era now that the 57-year-old company had recruited its first-ever leader from outside the Civic Opera House.

In the first in a set of moves that flesh out the meaning of “new era,” it’s clear that Lyric’s donors have put their money where their hopes are.

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TimeOut Chicago

31 August 2011

Q&A: Renee Fleming

Q&A: Renee Fleming

The soprano’s looking for new Lyric Opera recruits.

By Doyle Armbrust

Renée Fleming has her work cut out for her. When she assumes the position of Lyric Opera’s creative consultant with the 2011/2012 season, she’ll address flagging audience interest, foster the NExT and young professionals initiatives, and curate the commission of a new opera in 2015, among many other responsibilities. To celebrate the launch of the collaboration, Fleming headlines “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” on September 10. We caught up with the genial diva to ask her about the new gig.

What will you sing in September?
It is the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, so we’ll have an appropriate tribute. It’s especially moving for me because right after 9/11 I was involved in the [music] memorial that took place at the site.

Is the idea behind the young professionals initiative to bolster an existing interest, or is it meant to reach out to those who are unfamiliar with the genre?
I think both.… I think opera has gained a kind of glamorous appeal. It’s a live performance that aligns all of the arts, and when it is represented in the media, in film in particular, it is presented as something that is really a special event, whether it’s a great date or something that’s just hugely romantic.

How will you get the word out that opera is not just for a straightlaced older crowd?
It used to be that the theatrical side of things was not emphasized, but now it is. You have this whole visual, engaging element. By the way, Chicago is my favorite theater destination in the world. There are so many small and emerging theaters and that is an audience that should give opera a try, because opera is more theatrical now.

If your initiatives to bring in new audiences start attracting the jeans and plaid crowd, are you okay with that?
Absolutely! If I see someone in jeans, I’m happy they’re there.

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Liberation | LE MAG

9 June 2011

Renée Fleming, à claire-voix

Renée Fleming, à claire-voix

Après sept ans d’absence, la soprano américaine fait son retour à l’Opéra de Paris, le 14 juin, dans «Otello» de Verdi. Rencontre avec la diva à New York, entre Richard Strauss et… Arcade Fire.

Avril 2011, la saison du Metropolitan Opera bat son plein. Avant de découvrir le deuxième volet du Ring de Wagner mis en scène par Robert Lepage, les New-Yorkais ont rendez-vous avec Renée Fleming qui retrouve, pour sept représentations, un de ses rôles fétiches : la Comtesse du Capriccio de Richard Strauss. Il y a sept ans, au palais Garnier, elle subjugua les Parisiens dans ce rôle, concluant le mandat de Hugues Gall, directeur de l’Opéra de Paris, sur une note éblouissante. On était alors loin de se douter qu’elle disparaîtrait aussitôt après, et pour longtemps, des scènes de Bastille - où elle avait incarné d’extraordinaires Maréchale, Rusalka et Manon - et de Garnier - où elle avait livré des Mozart somptueux sous la baguette de feu Sir Georg Solti. D’où l’émotion de la réentendre dans Capriccio à Manhattan.

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The Independent

10 September 2010

Queen of the Met reigns at Last Night of the Proms

Queen of the Met reigns at Last Night of the Proms

Renée Fleming will lead Rule, Brittania! at the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow night. It will be a carnival, she tells Jessica Duchen of The Independent

A perfect evening in the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago: Renée Fleming, presented to the crowd as New York's Queen of the Metropolitan Opera, is resplendent under the rising moon, singing an open-air gala concert in four languages. But the next morning, this corner of Tuscany becomes Torrents del Lago beneath a violent thunderstorm; heading out to interview the American diva, I'm up to my shins in floodwater. It feels gloriously operatic.

Now a new aria awaits Fleming: Arne's Rule, Britannia! On 11 September, she will be the star soprano soloist at the Last Night of the Proms. She's an apt choice for the occasion: she, perhaps more than any other diva, can sing anything she likes and, in seconds, have an audience eating out of her hand. It will be just the latest in an ongoing stream of new experiences for Fleming, whose reach extends well beyond her operatic home turf to some very unexpected corners indeed.

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