Renée Fleming - Kudos

Recital, Kennedy Center, January 8, 2011

Washington Post January 9, 2011

“The Beautiful Voice soared, swelled and glistened at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night. Renee Fleming, the soprano possessed of this sobriquet, gave a recital at the Concert Hall, courtesy of the Washington Performing Arts Society, to a large and appreciative crowd; she brought her A-game, and everyone was happy.

For an opera diva, it's not as hard to grab attention as it is to sustain it. Fleming has been America's reigning diva for more than a decade now, and that kind of endurance involves considerable savvy about how to use and conserve your voice (if you don't believe it, think about how many singers these days couldn't keep themselves in the spotlight). Fleming on Saturday offered some of the shining freshness that grabbed everyone's attention when she was just coming onto the scene: gleaming high notes arcing downwards like wires of gold.

She also offered a repertory that showcased her gifts beautifully - and wasn't calculated to please anybody but herself...The focus of the evening was turn-of-the-20th-century Germany. She sang songs by Zemlinsky, Korngold and Richard Strauss. The "Five Songs" by Zemlinsky that she offered are a little-known but intriguing set. The three songs by Korngold, also little-known, were irresistibly pretty.

And Strauss is a composer who represents Fleming's sweet spot. His music fits her like a glove; her voice is high enough to reach his soaring top notes and colorful enough to do justice to its center. She sang "Winterweihe" ("Winter Consecration"), a lovely, quiet piece about an aging couple keeping love alive in the winter of life; "Winterliebe" ("Winter Love"); "Traum durch die Dammerung" ("Dreaming Through the Twilight"); and the "Song of Apollo's Priestess," a showy invocation. Only the third of these is particularly well known; all were worth hearing Saturday.

Saturday...was a satisfying evening: a fine portrait of a singer at her best.”                                

-Anne Midgette

Recital, Kansas City, MO, October 9, 2010

Kansas City Star October 10, 2010

“Some performers seem to have it all. So it seemed on Saturday night at the Folly Theater as soprano Renée Fleming sang as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Fleming, long revered as one of the operatic world’s finest treasures, bowled over a sold-out audience with her charm, beauty and of course, her sensational voice…Fleming displayed the tender and delicate facets of her voice — far from the rafter-shaking power of the stereotypical operatic diva…The most impressive of the Mahler set was “Ich bin der Welt Abhanden Gekommen” (“I Am Lost to the World.”) Fleming described Mahler’s pain and isolation while working at the Vienna State Opera, and then musically characterized him in song. She sang with a soft, gentle and very dark vocal tone, resulting in a sense of utter desolation.”                                

-Susan Pfannmuller

Recital, St. Paul, MN, October 7, 2010

Saint Paul Star Tribune October 8, 2010

“Renée Fleming is a true diva du jour. Her sumptuous soprano, dazzling technique and glamorous persona make her the complete package. Resplendently gowned, she cut an elegant figure at her Schubert Club recital Thursday at the Ordway. But she was utterly natural in the way she addressed the audience with eager enthusiasm about the program…Fleming unleashed her luxurious voice in an over-the-top rendering of the death scene from Umberto Giordano's Fedora. Especially thrilling was "The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God," a cycle that jazz musician Brad Mehldau wrote for Fleming using poems by Rainer Maria Rilke…she sang the challenging music with emotional commitment. Equally successful was "Jane Grey" an Arnold Schoenberg song about the nine-day queen of England. Fleming embraced this post-Romantic monologue as a great dramatic scene and told a deeply felt story. This was also true of three songs by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, which seemed particularly suited to her. She poured her heart into them, bringing some exquisite floated pianissimos expressively to bear.”

-William Randall Beard

Previous | Page 13 of 19 | Next