Acclaimed by the press as “one of the truly magnificent voices of our time,” American soprano Renée Fleming’s international career spans over a decade. Renowned for her commanding musicianship, intelligence and interpretive abilities, the Grammy Award winning soprano has cultivated a devoted following worldwide for her work on the operatic stage, in concerts and recitals, on television, radio and recordings, and as a champion of new music.
Following performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival and concerts with the NDR Orchestra at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in August, Renée Fleming opens the MET’s 2000-2001 season with performances of Don Giovanni, James Levine conducting, followed by the October 4 season opening gala of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers telecast on PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center from Avery Fisher Hall. A recital tour of North America in late October/early November includes performances at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall, SUNY/ Potsdam’s Hosmer Concert Hall (NY), Duke University’s Page Auditorium (NC), University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Auditorium, the National Arts Centre Opera House in Ottawa, Canada and the Boch Center for the Performing Arts (MA). Ms. Fleming ends the year with performances of Der Rosenkavalier with the San Francisco Opera, Charles Mackerras conducting. In January 2001, Ms. Fleming returns to PBS with another national Live From Lincoln Center telecast. She then travels to Europe for performances of the Verdi Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra, Anthony Pappano conducting, and the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conducting, and a new production of Strauss’s Arabella with the Bavarian State Opera in March.
In April, Ms. Fleming travels throughout North America, this time in a duo recital tour with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The six-city tour will include performances at Vancouver’s Chan Centre Concert Hall, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, the Krannert Center in Champaign-Urbana (IL), St. Paul’s Ordway Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Her only spring New York appearance is the Verdi Requiem with the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, James Levine conducting. Additional spring performances include an all-Strauss engagement with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting, and a tour of Japan with the Metropolitan Opera and James Levine, which includes Der Rosenkavalier and a Verdi Requiem. Performances of Manon with the Paris Opera, Arabella with the Bavarian State Opera, and a recital in Munich’s Prinzregententheater follow.
In addition to the standard repertoire, Ms. Fleming has performed many world premieres, including André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons with the San Francisco Opera, and at the Metropolitan Opera, John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles. She also sang Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah in its first productions at the Metropolitan Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to her many appearances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, her voice has resounded throughout the distinguished venues of Paris’ Opera Bastille and Palais Garnier (including the 1996 re-opening performance), the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Barb-ican, La Scala, Bayreuth, Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Glyndebourne, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Palau de la Mùsica Catalana in Barcelona, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and Carnegie Hall, among others.
Featured among her past orchestral appearances are those with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic,London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the MET Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among others. She has collaborated with such maestros as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Christian Thielemann, Michael Tilson Thomas and the late Sir Georg Solti.
An exclusive recording artist with Decca since 1995, Ms. Fleming’s newest releases for fall 2000 are an album of arias entitled “Renée Fleming;” Massenet’s Thäis with Thomas Hampson, Yves Abel conducting; and she guests on “Two Worlds” by jazz greats Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour, singing Bachianas Aria and Shenandoah. In 1999, Ms. Fleming won her first Grammy in the “Best Classical Vocal Performance” category for her recording The Beautiful Voice (a collection of favorite songs and arias), and was also awarded three Gramophone Awards – the Recital Award for I Want Magic, the Opera Award for Rusalka and Record of the Year for Rusalka. In addition, Rusalka has received top awards from France, Belgium, Germany and Spain, as well as a 2000 Grammmy nomination for Best Opera recording. Also in 1999, Decca released Strauss Heroines, featuring scenes from Der Rosenkavalier, Capriccio and Arabella with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach conducting, and Ms. Fleming made a live recording of Alcina at the Palais Garnier, Paris (Erato). Her recording The Beautiful Voice was awarded the 1998 Prize from l’Académie du Disque Lyrique. Other Decca recordings have received several Grammy nominations as well: Signatures (opera scenes) with Sir Georg Solti conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Don Giovanni also with Solti conducting the LSO, and Visions of Love (her 1996 collection of Mozart arias) with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Ms. Fleming’s televised performances during the 2000-2001 season include the 2000 Season Opening Gala – Great Performers Live From Lincoln Center, and “An Evening with Renee Fleming” on PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center to open the new year. Additional telecasts include an appearance at The White House for the 1999 end of the millennium New Year’s Eve gala, the 1999 Pageant of Peace at The White House, a 1999 PBS Star Crossed Lovers Gala featuring duets with Plácido Domingo and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim conductor/ pianist; the 1998 PBS world premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the San Francisco Opera, André Previn conducting; the 1997 PBS Live from Lincoln Center New York Philharmonic Season Opening Gala; the 1997 PBS Live from Lincoln Center American Musical Theater Gala and the 1996 James Levine 25th Anniversary Gala at the Metropolitan Opera. Televised operatic performances on PBS include Don Giovanni, Otello, The Ghosts of Versailles and The Marriage of Figaro from the Metropolitan Opera, The Dangerous Liaisons from San Francisco Opera, Richard Tucker Foundation Galas and BBC telecasts.
Referred to by the press as “America’s favorite soprano,” Ms. Fleming’s achievements have been recognized within the industry. In 2000, she was honored with the Gift of Music Award from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the world of classical music, and was named one of the top ten classical singers of the 90’s by the Associated Press. In 1997 she was lauded by Musical America as their Vocalist of the Year, and was saluted in 1996 with the first Solti Prize of l’Académie du Disque Lyrique for her outstanding recording artistry. Outside of the classical music world, her artistry has been acknowledged as well. For 2001, Ms. Fleming makes a cameo appearance in the upcoming Bruce Beresford feature film on Alma Mahler, entitled “Bride of the Wind.” Rolex has chosen her to represent their timepieces in the new Rolex advertising campaign for 2001. The renowned 116-year old women’s magazine Ladies’ Home Journal in 1999 named her one of their “100 Most Important Women.” Couturier Gian-Franco Ferré has designed Ms. Fleming’s stage gowns since 1998. She was the subject for an Anne Klein advertising campaign (1998) featuring remarkable women, and has been featured in Annie Leibovitz ‘s photo essay book “Women” (Condé Nast 1999). In December 1999, master chef Daniel Boulud of the famed New York restaurant Daniel paid homage to Ms. Fleming with the creation of “La Diva Renée,” placing Ms. Fleming in the legendary pantheon of desserts dedicated to superlative talent.
Renée Fleming’s early awards include winning the 1988 Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, the Richard Tucker Award, the George London Prize, the Grand Prix at the International Singing Competition in Belgium, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany. She studied at The Juilliard School and holds degrees from the State University of New York at Potsdam and the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Fleming currently resides in Connecticut with her children.