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Plying her trade

“Renowned soprano Renée Fleming demonstrates how she can treat a song like a mini-opera.”

Header photo: Andrew Eccles


  • 1
    Krunoslav says:

    Kim Carnes, styled by Buffy Sainte Marie.

  • 2
    -Ed. says:

    I have told that woman and told that woman. “Please,” I said, “Stop hanging out with Bjork.” But did she listen? No.

    • 2.1
      oedipe says:

      Well, think about it: it could’ve been worse, she could’ve been hanging out with Bjork’s hubby.

    • 2.2
      alejandro says:

      I would kill for the hilarity of Renee doing an album of Bjork songs.

      Her scooping up and down “Army of Me,” “Human Behavior,” and “Pagan Poetry” would be a laugh riot.

      (tangentially . . . one of the most magical nights at the Met was at a performance of Lulu and bumped into Bjork who was with Mark Morris . . . I quickly excused myself and as soon as she turned around burst into tears. She looked gorgeous. Not a drop of makeup on her face, which was so alive and full of light).

  • 3
    La Valkyrietta says:

    A poster once commented that Renée’s voice sounded like melted Velveeta. Apparently there is a shortage of that cheese in the US these days. Maybe then she’ll be inspired by the Grand Menu Tour d’Argent,

    Brie de Meaux fermier de la Compagnie
    Fromagère Edmond de Rothschild

    On peut souhaiter. :)

  • 4
    operaassport says:

    Celine Dion by way of severe airbrushing.

  • 5
    kashania says:

    It’s funny. Renee is usually very nicely dressed and made up when she makes on-air appearances. But in some of her publicity shots (like the one at the top of this item), she’s dressed and styled as if she were 20.

    • 5.1
      Feldmarschallin says:

      There is nothing sadder when a mature women tries to look like a girl of 18. Why not dress elegantly which needn’t be dowdy. The hair is horrible as well and looks like a wig. Remember how sexy Anne Bancroft was in The Graduate? Or Audrey Hepburn.

      • 5.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        Anne Bancroft was 35 when she shot The Graduate. No wonder Fleming makes the odd fashion misstep if she’s going to be negatively compared to famous beauties twenty years younger than she is.

          kennedet says:

          Say what you want about her singing but Fleming in the HD Thais was “drop dead gorgeous”.It was difficult to listen to her singing. When she wears the most flattering colors and romantic style for her figure….she is extremely beautiful in her gowns. Please give her credit for doing it for some time now.

      • 5.1.2
        La Cieca says:

        Feldmarschallin, can you please email -- a new acquaintence wishes to get your contact information.

          Princess de Bouillon says:

          …… please tell Feldmarschallin that David has joined you as Princess de Bouillon. I am so impressed having met been such fabulous people during the past few days..

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            Willkommen Madame La Princesse :) Wie war die letzte MdS? Bin wieder am Samstag.
            Marie Theres

            • Princess de Bouillon says:

              Gestern MdS Echt super ..hatte tolle zeit mit die Schweden, ( eine hat gestern sein 70’ste ) Viel fun had by all….

              Bin Samstag abend in der Galerie.. SITZPLATZ erste reihe….. wir sehen uns… UND morgen abend in Onegin nochmals in balkon seite…Uwes comments inj FB:-

              Uwe Schneider remember the times when they performed Forza with an actual tenor, a Melitone who could sing, a bass who had a real low register, a Preziosilla with a flexible voice and a conductor who knew Verdi?

              (Silly Queen…..)


              David Sealey rubbish ! Viva Verdi ! I agree maybe on the conductor but the rest is fabulous.. AND I am not growing deaf just yet In the old production they were hardly allowed to move on stage let alone act.. It is wonderfdul to be able to maintain my own opin…See More
              11 hours ago ·

              David Sealey Of course I have NOT forgotten Julia Varady and Kurt Moll….
              11 hours ago ·

              David Sealey P.S Happy New Year !
              10 hours ago ·

              Uwe Schneider Happy New Year!
              Mein antwort.

              See you Sat.. lkg fwd…xxxx

      • 5.1.3
        mb says:

        La gelosia …

          Feldmarschallin says:

          Frag doch Uwe ob er von den alten Kasseten die wir damals aufgenommen haben noch was hat. Meine sind alle bei einem Umzug verloren gegangen und bin vor allem an Varady und Zampieri interessiert. Bis zum Samstag bin auch mein Stammplatz auch Galerie.

    • 5.2
      operadunce says:

      Well, if you watch the video, you will see that Renee is nicely dressed for the interview and the concert. The photo posted here is from some of the material used to promote the release of Dark Hope over three years ago. I’m not sure how it is relevant to this video promoting the Richard Tucker gala. It’s not from the PBS website.

      • 5.2.1
        MontyNostry says:

        In which case, I do hope that La Cieca wasn’t simply being provocative when she posted that shot of Renee and her extensions.

          operadunce says:

          I think La Cieca is just compensating for having kinda, sorta defended Renee a few threads back. Good to see that she has been able to shake off that residual holiday good will and is back in her comfort zone. :)

  • 6
    Clita del Toro says:

    I think it’s wonderful that Renée has really hit upon something. A song as a mini-opera, WOW! Who knew? She must be a genius. I have totally changed my opinion about her.

    • 6.1
      armerjacquino says:

      It’s a little web interview where she’s made a few entry-level comments about performing concerts rather than full length operas. There’s just nothing objectionable about it at all.

      The way Fleming is treated round here really really depresses me.

      • 6.1.1
        Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:


      • 6.1.2
        DonCarloFanatic says:

        Could we go back to gossiping about Netrebko and Shrott? Although they are human beings, too, and possibly this is a tough time for them.

        All this Renee bashing is ridiculous. She looks fine in that PR photo, although not quite herself, more like a woman who has been in love with the wrong kind of man. She’s much more attractive trying to look mainstream than Garth Brooks was in his ridiculous PR photos when he was trying to be a rocker named Chris Gaines. (I would attach a photo but I don’t know how.) The look she affects for the opera crowd could after all be just that--a look she deems acceptable but that isn’t her natural self either.

        And, golly, can you blame a girl for trying on a new look?

      • 6.1.3
        Evenhanded says:



        Boring, uncreative, ritualistic, often unfounded, Fleming-bashing. Zzzzzzzzzz.

      • 6.1.4
        Batty Masetto says:

        I started as an avid Fleming-admirer; thought she had possibly the most beautiful voice I’d ever heard. There followed years of puzzlement and increasing frustration as one performance after another never really delivered on the promise. Not to mention the growing annoyance at the mannerisms.

        But the real change came a few years ago when I heard from a dear friend who had worked with her on more than one significant production. This person is a seasoned theater professional who is generally gallant to the point of sentimentality about most artists. What my friend had to say about working with Miss F. – well, let’s say it left me with a decidedly jaded view of her professionalism, and that put me over the edge.

        She’s not a nasty person, so far as I know, and the voice has remained in remarkably good shape. But I don’t mind the bashing a bit.

          CwbyLA says:

          Well Batty, please feel free to elaborate on what your friend had to say ;-) Curious minds want to know.

          CwbyLA says:

          Well Batty, please feel free to elaborate on what your friend had to say ;-) Curious minds want to know.

      • 6.1.5
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Exactly right, ArmerJ.

  • 7
    javier says:

    “Ombra di nube” is a beautiful song that is on Guilty Pleasures recording. I looking forward to seeing this PBS telecast on Friday. Fleming also sings The Flower duet with Susan Graham. Fleming’s voice is smooth like melted velveeta poured over a bowl of nachos. I’m hungry.

  • 8
    La Valkyrietta says:

    Many things have been said, some funnier than others, but Audrey Hepburn, ça, c’est l’élégance.

  • 9
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Looks like someone at Elizabeth Arden Red Door did a Brigitte Fonda on her.

  • 10
    Avantialouie says:

    Every true Diva must be a master of her Kraft.

  • 11
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    The videos on the Rysanek collection on Youtube have some wonderful photos of Leonie, even though the audio tracks are well known.

    I wish someone could find the Fidelio she did at La Scala in the 1970s, which has never been in circulation.

  • 12
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

  • 13
    Cicciabella says:

    From the New Year’s concert at the Semperoper in Dresden:

    • 13.1
      Porgy Amor says:

      Klaus Florian Vogt’s English is excellent.

      • 13.1.1
        tiger1dk says:

        While Mr Vogt’s hair is HORRID -- look a bit like a bad copy of Ms Fleming’s… And his timbre is not really interesting -- difficult to imagine him singing the big Wagnerian part (he sounds more like a Basilio/Curzio or, on a good day, a Pedrillo than a Tristan). Well, maybe it is not fair to judge him based on just Tonight.

          Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Maybe? Do you think?

          • tiger1dk says:

            Well, now I also listened to Ein lied geht um der welt (or whatever his first solo is called). And I stand by my first judgment -- Mr Vogt sounds a bit like the tenors that would sing the second tenor in the EMI Anneliese Rothenberger -- Nicolai Gedda operetta recordings… Similar his stage demeanor. Sorry to be a bit harsh but I am not impressed.

          oedipe says:

          There is no accounting for tastes: in voices, singing styles, dress styles, hair, sexiness, “bubbles”, you name it…

          One thing I think we can agree on: Vogt’s English is much better than his Italian.

  • 14
    Cicciabella says:


    And, inevitably:

    P.S. Renée looks gorgeous in emerald green.

  • 15
    -Ed. says:


    I was just teasing, I’m actually quite the Fleming fan. I just bought a ticket to attend her recital next month here in Pittsburgh. I couldn’t resist joining La and her little witticism regarding that tire gown (plying her trade. get it? ply. tire.)
    And I never pass up an opportunity to mock Bjork.