Cher Public

Fire and music

“In her first role in a play, Ms. Fleming will make her debut at the [Williamstown Theater Festival] in Living on Love, a new comedy from the Tony-winning writer Joe DiPietro (Memphis), adapted from the Garson Kanin play Peccadillo. Ms. Fleming will play an opera diva at odds with her husband over the people they’ve hired to ghostwrite their autobiographies. The show, directed by Kathleen Marshall, is to run July 16 through 26.” [New York Times]

  • CwbyLA

    Interesting!

  • SF Guy

    I’ll wait for the film version with Meryl Streep.

  • Krunoslav

    Next summer at the O’Neill Center; Jason Robert Brown’s MT adaptation of Bill Richards original play: working title UNAGED IN BOTOX.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • zinka

    This idea about Renee PALES when you recall how Zinka Milanov did the remake of the Wizard of Oz in 1957, with Kurt Baum as Toto….. and she kept saying,”

    And you leetle dog toooo” (in ppppppp)

  • operaassport

    Is it April 1st already?

    I could see Dessay or Stratas or Mattila. All singers known for their superb acting. But Fleming? Beautiful voice, no doubt. But acting? Methinks not. She’s always Renay Fleming. I can’t see her making it as an actress unless it’s on one of those Bravo shows.

    • Clita del Toro

      A soap opera would be Reneigh’s thing. As The Stomach Turns? ;)
      (I know, I love making fun of Renee).

  • Often admonished

    You made this up and leaked it a credulous NYT.

    • havfruen

      Best comment I’ve seen in a long time !

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    Shows up and just *gives* a performance…

    • Sheldon

      Out of nowhere! A performance! No doubt full of those Bill Sampson touches!

  • Lee B. Ahmo

    This is ridiculous beyond belief!

  • Grane

    A Renee Fleming performance without the singing? Is that like Parsifal without the comedy?

    • Clita del Toro

      A Renee performance without singing is like a day without sunshine! GULP!

  • javier

    At this point Renee is just having fun. She is being offered projects in so many places and she can just pick whatever she wants. Doing a play that runs for a few performances is a lot easier than learning a new opera.

    Anyway, this should be a good for everyone because the people who like her will enjoy it and the haters will get more material (they can’t keep harping on her jazz or dark hope forever).

    • Our Own JJ

      Renee, just having fun…

      • Dorothy and James are geniuses

      • Rory Williams

        RFLMAO. Genius!!!!

      • Harold

        It’s a lot less self-indulgent than I had feared. At least there was no back phrasing.

      • OpinionatedNeophyte

        I wasn’t ready! Hahahahaha! Classic.

      • forthesakeofargument

        That is amazing!!

    • operaassport

      Being critical of her increasingly mannered performances and faux girl next door persona doesn’t make one a “hater.” It makes one someone with taste and a critical eye.

      • Yes, but the people who are critical of her manners and persona seem to forget all the good things she has. People tend to be black or white.

  • Robert J.

    I say good for her. She is obviously thinking about what her post-opera career will look like, and it makes sense to experiment with these ventures now.

    I don’t think of Renee as a marvelous actress either. But it is not for nothing that she can command the opera stage. It is possible that she could become quite a good actress when she is not concentrating so much on the singing. We tend to forget how much effort the physical production of opera singing requires.

    • MontyNostry

      Any thoughts for a good play to feature the post-operatic Renee and Nathalie? Perhaps Genet’s Les Bonnes? An all-female version of Waiting for Godot? Or perhaps someone should revive the idea of a musical version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Renee would be rather good as the long-suffering Blanche -- and it would make a change from her usual Blanche.

      • operaassport

        And people would pay big money to see her kicked around by Jane.

    • MontyNostry

      Seriously, though, her speaking voice always sounds a bit monotonous to me, slightly school of Madonna.

    • Not only do I not think she’s a marvelous actress, I don’t even think she’s a good one. With the exception of her final scene of Onegin opposite Hvorostovsky (in which she was fabulous), I’ve never seen a good bit of acting from Fleming. She poses and mugs; she doesn’t know how to act.

      I don’t mean to disparage Fleming. It’s not her fault that she’s not a natural actress. Her gifts are her amazing voice and her command of that great instrument. But she is one of the last opera singers I would see being able to make a transition to spoken theatre.

      • Camille

        Well, kashie, you ain’t alone ’cause the eminent Mrs. John Claggart said the same and more, relating a tale of when he tried to talk her into working some more on her acting after the late-nineties Manon, and she just plain said it was too much a bother or she didn’t have time and she just didn’t ‘get it’, I paraphrase but it was more or less that. As someone who snoozed her way through that Manon and remembers only the moment in which she opened her cape in the St. Suplice scene to reveal the shockingly scarlet interior of its lining, I would concur that, hell yeah, she needed help.

        Now then, have any of you guya ever happened to have listened to her take on, essentially, herself on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion”??? She plays herself for laughs as the character RENATA FLAMBÉ. It almost works. Works better than that Manon did, anyhow.

        • javier

          so you want to use hear-say to make the case that renee fleming is lazy? that just does not match her work ethic at all. she’s not the type to say that something is to much for her and she doesn’t have time for it. especially considering the role you are referring to. fleming has always said such fond things about singing manon so i don’t believe that she’d tell someone she doesn’t have time to work on portraying the character. it is totally fine if you think her manon is crap or boring, but to write on a blog that she is not a hard worker is out of character for her. you are taking liberties with your “paraphrasing”. It’s more like flat out lies.

          • Camille

            Javier dear,

            You are quite mistaken.
            It is evident that you have a problem about RF and I ask you kindly to not track my comments further and distort them so as to indulge yourself in a hissy fit, better directed at others who don’t like her here on Parterre.

            And as I was listening to her in 1990-91, when it was most likely the only diva you knew of was Madonna, and knew a different side of her career, it is all really futile to compare.

        • Interesting about her not caring to try to improve her acting. There’s definitely a sameness to her acting, whether it’s Violetta, Armida or the Marschallin. She can’t drop the perma-grin and just repeats a few stock facial expressions.

          There are certain singers who are not natural actors but who still make a sincere effort to act. In the hands of a good director, they overcome their limitations to give a performance that is greater than one thought them capable.

          • MontyNostry

            What you are saying about her acting chimes in with what I feel about her singing, kashania — for all her beauty of voice, excellence of technique and essential seriousness of purpose.

          • bluecabochon

            In order for her to “work on her acting”, she would have to be willing to do quite a lot of hard work that would involve trusting her colleagues and opening herself up in ways that she probably has never done. She would have to be willing to take risks both physical and emotional in front of others. Movement and voice work and even dance would help to free her from the stiffness that she exhibits physically, but what about the shyness and prim ladylike demeanor that is her trademark? Hopefully, she has the courage to do this hard work, to find a technique that offers discipline as it frees her up to express herself. There is no coasting if one wants to be a truthful actor, and it’s not a career for the timid or lazy.

            • armerjacquino

              She’s never struck me as lazy. Her Violetta, for example, has its moments of rather wince-worthy overplaying but there’s never any doubt as to her commitment. In fact I’d say that her flaw as an actor is that she micromanages her performance in the way she sometimes does with the singing.

            • When it comes to expressing drama through her singing, I agree that Fleming does micromanage, leading to the fussy, mannered singing which we have discussed here many times.

              But when it comes to stage acting, I don’t see the commitment let alone micromanagement. I saw her Violetta on TV recently and saw nothing but some generalised gestures and facial expressions — much like every other performance I’ve seen from her.

            • Grane

              Maybe her foray into theater means she’s trying to do just that, cabochon. Though this play might not be the best choice…

            • bluecabochon

              Armer, I meant lazy as far as the amount of effort required to put over a part convincingly as an actress. I never got the feeling that this was important to her, especially as she is not a natural actress and seems so constrained on stage. I have been hoping to see her just break free of whatever has been keeping her from hiding her light under a bushel and uniting her vocal loveliness with a deeply affecting stage presence.

              Anyway, I hope that it will be a good experience doing this play and who knows where it may lead.

            • oedipe

              A general question, out of curiosity: who are some of the singers in activity today that are good stage actors? And how do we define good acting? Is it something along the lines of being committed, not micromanaging, being able to create individualized, credible, genuine characters that convey emotions? Something along the lines of Poplavskaya? And isn’t good acting merely a matter of subjective perception?

            • Oedipe: I would put Poplavskaya at the top of the list. Most singers don’t achieve that level. With her, I think it’s a combo of hard work and just plain natural acting talent. I don’t really expect most singers to be born with such great gifts — it is rare when it happens.

              Netrebko is a less of a thoughtful actress but she still gives committed performances and brings genuine stage presence to her performances. Matilla is of course another great stage actress, though she does tend to play all her characters as nervous and on edge.

              Dessay is a great natural actress but I find her very self-absorbed and curiously dis-engaged with her colleagues. Surely, one of the hallmarks of stage acting is engaging with one’s colleagues and she doesn’t seem interested in that. This is true especially of her recent years. I don’t know if she was always like that.

              For the men, Kaufmann very good. Alagna is limited in his acting vocabulary but always gives a committed effort. Pape is one of my favourites of the men. His stage acting always seems very natural to me. Terfel is another one who always gives a committed stage performance.

              Lately, I’ve become more interested in singers who are not natural actors but who make a real effort. Some singers are lucky in that they are born with a great voice and natural acting ability but that’s rare. I’m always interested in the hard workers.

              Currently, in Toronto, we have a production of Ballo directed by the duo of Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito. The Riccardo is Dimitri Pittas whom I’ve never considered a natural actor. However, he has taken to the production’s concept of the character brilliantly and the hard work has paid off. I admire that greatly.

            • Clita del Toro

              I don’t think that Renée is lazy. I think on some weird level she just doesn’t get it. She tries to overlay her acting and singing with a superficial emotional content that doesn’t ring true too much of the time. Can this be learned? I think she should have at the beginning sung the music straight and not tried so hard to “act” and maybe after a while (even if it were boring singing) real emotion may have emerged. Who knows?
              I saw her on TV? Sing the VLL. The smarmy faces she made during the songs made me sick. This was not necessary.

            • I think “good acting” anywhere is being able to create an illusion that the role requires. I never thought the Oscar method of trying a new accent and losing 40 pounds was necessarily “good acting” although it wins statues. The best example of “good acting” I can think of is Judy in “Wizard of Oz.” Garlands husky voice, mature figure, and cheesy wig are all offset by the illusion she’s able to create of wide-eyed naïveté. You don’t ever think that Judy looks a little too old for Dorothy.

            • oedipe

              The problem, as I see it, is this: aside maybe from the top of the list (Poplavskaya) and probably the bottom of the list (Botha?), what comes in-between on anyone’s list is, to a large extent, a matter of personal affinity: the ability to “create an illusion that the role requires” for some may be unconvincing acting to other people. Why is that?

        • operadunce

          Sometimes, reading the comments on Parterre is like watching the very worst of cable news. Camille, you take the equivalent of a sound bite from fifteen years ago and conclude that that is the last word on the subject. In the late 90’s, Renee probably didn’t have time to devote to following the advice of the all-knowing Mrs. John Claggart in between going through a divorce, raising two young children, experiencing serious stage fright and trying to learn too many new roles in a short period of time as she herself admits. In her book which dates from about 2002-2003, she recounts how “a friend” told her that she really needed to work on her acting. Perhaps that friend was Mrs. JC. She went on to say that it was that comment that made her realize that the emotion she was feeling inside wasn’t being conveyed to the audience. I’m not saying that you are wrong about her acting, but to assume from a single anecdote that that is the end of the story and that she just never cared enough is the type of silliness I expect to see from a few others on this site, not you. You are generally more fairminded.

          • MontyNostry

            Consider your knuckles well rapped, Camille, dear.

            • Camille

              I do consider the source: a *dunce*, and a smug and ‘superbo’ one at that.

              That is what I have considered, my dear Sir.

    • operadunce

      Can this possibly be the same performance that Marshie saw?. “..superb breath control and ravishing high notes…”, “… a lovely shimmering lyric soprano…”? I thought she had no core, she was shrill, could barely make it through the performance, etc. How can anyone believe that opera criticism, whether professional or amateur, is anything other than a figment of the writer’s imagination? Guess I’ll find out for myself on February 15.

      • marshiemarkII

        dunce, first of all opinions are opinions, and I heard what I heard, so you might hear differently. But you also chose not to highlight another paragraph from that review with which I very much agree:
        “She has all the notes and doesn’t seem to tire, but the performance as a whole feels small-scale—not the sort of thing you’d expect from a diva so celebrated she does guest spots on The Late Show with David Letterman and sings the National Anthem at the Superbowl.”

        Now from La C’s seat perhaps the B natural didn’t sound shrill (or was it a different night?), or perhaps the orchestra was so loud or whatever, but from my seat I heard shrillness and stress, which is not a commonly used word to describe her singing. The rest is de gustibus, e basta. I heard Fleming sing once superbly (and in competition with none other than Behrens!!!!! and I gave her the full credit she deserved! then and now), then beautifully but atrociously self-indulgent and uninteresting, and then last week in what I considered exactly a La C says “a small scaled” performance that to me sounded as if her voice had no core. That’s it! I am not claiming to have an absolute truth, it is just my opinion right?

        • pobrediablo

          In what opera did Renée sing with Behrens?

        • marshiemarkII

          Idomeneo in Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony in summer of 1991. It was meant to be Vaness for Ilia, and Vaness cancelled very late, which put the whole project in jeopardy, it was almost cancelled. Suddenly Behrens told me that they had found this new girl that had just won the Richard Tucker, and people were very impressed with. She was delighted the project was back on again.

          The night before the dress rehearsal I stayed at the Lennox Inn, with a boy I took along with me, who at the time was 20 (or 21), and the next morning we went to the breakfast room, and were having our coffee and blueberry muffins when we see this single woman sitting by herself at the other end of the smallish room. Eventually Carl St Clair, the conductor, whom I knew when he had been assistant to Seiji Ozawa during the Elektra recording, walks in, and upon seeing me greets me and obviously sits at our table. The talk was of course about opera, and his new job as MD of the Orange County Opera (Pacific Opera? he is now at Weimar) etc, etc. The lady at the other end gets more and more interested in our conversation, until finally blurts out a “are you guys in the music business?” whereupon I answered “he is [namely Carl] but we are just music lovers here for the rehearsal of Idomeneo” her face lit up like a Christmas tree and said “oh I am singing in that also! may I join you guys?” introductions, names and yes the lady’s name was Renee Fleming :lol: she told us all about her recent debuts at Covent Garden, the Met, and I think La Scala (?) but very nice down to earth, matter of fact young lady.

          The rehearsal was that evening, and from the very second she opened her mouth I knew that this was a unique and fantastic singer!!!!! at the end of the first act I went to see Hildegard, and she right away said “very fine this new girl, eh” always the generous colleague that she was! Fleming was glorious in the rehearsal and even more glorious in the performance two days later. At the party afterwards she was basking in the adulation of everyone around, and Hildegard was most impressed with her. In 1997, Hildegard was getting ready for her Gotterdammerung Brunnhilde in one of the lesser dressing rooms, because Fleming was finishing up dressing and greeting fans after her matinee performance of Rusalka, eventually as she was leaving, she approached the dressing room Hildegard was in to announce the room was free, and they hugged and chatted for a few minutes, toi toi tois for tonight, and Hildegard congratulated her on her fabulous successes she was having in Europe, Salzburg, etc etc. That was the last time Hildegard or I ever saw Fleming close by, as it were…..

          • pobrediablo

            Now you need to tell me how you met Hildegard.

          • marshiemarkII

            diablina, that story is long, somewhat private :D and we would certainly be pushing our luck with the indulgence of the rest of the parterriat that might not have an interest in hearing that story. So doesn’t that sound like the perfect excuse for you to sit on one of the “folding” chairs, and listen like a good boy? I promise I wouldn’t do anything untoward :lol:
            [the only thing I’ll say is that I met her in 1980, and in 1982 we became inseparable, and the relationship never decreased in intensity until one week before she went on to sing in the eternal chorus……..]

            • Camille

              Well thank you for telling me about the Donn’Anna but I still find it vehttp://m.tiffany.com/mobile/shopping/Categorybrowse.aspx?cid=649502&mcat=148206&utm_campaign=020214_US_Statement_YD_F500_Email&utm_medium=email_marketing&utm_source=email_marketing&utm_content=Header_Copy&utm_term=&omcid=EML865&tfr=1

              ry exigently scrupulous of her to forego the entire role--an apparen sucess in the eyes of her directors.

              To think of what I hear now in the way of approximate and casually sloppy singing that is not only not noticed but condoned by those who do as “artistic choice, interpretation”, or what have you—well, it is just very unusual.

              Don’t tell us the story of how you made the connection with Hilde as that is too intimate and personal and important a connection…best kept in the secret of the heart’s inner chamber.

            • Camille

              Ha! Sorry but my finger slipped and somehow reinserted the Tiffany’s link again! Those yellow diamonds are demanding hour attention.

            • marshiemarkII

              Oh I know CammiB adoree, that diablina caused this whole brouhaha with her question about Fleming and Behrens in the same opera, and now on top of it all wants to have private information, really bad bad gurl :lol: :lol:

            • pobrediablo

              Put the blame on Mame, boy, put the blame on Mame.

          • MontyNostry

            The big question here is -- what the hell were they doing casting Vaness as Ilia in 1991, when she was already a celebrated Vitellia?

            • Krunoslav

              Yes, I have to say that I found that highly improbable. Vaness sang Vitellia at the Met in December 1991 and had been doing the part since the early 80s.

              Wasn’t the Ilia someone more like Sylvia McNair? Or Dawn Upshaw (the Met’s Ilia that year?)

            • armerjacquino

              More pertinently, she’d been singing Elettra since at least the early 80s (eg on the wonderful Glyndebourne video with Langridge, Hadley and Kenny).

            • marshiemarkII

              Monty, that was exactly it, who knows why or how they had cast Vaness as Ilia, but Vaness did create a ruckus because she wanted to sing Elettra. This was NOT happening since Ozawa, who absolutely worshiped the ground on which Behrens walked, would have never allowed it, she was the peach of his eyes. So in the end Vaness just cancelled and it was like in April. That’s why the project was in jeopardy of total cancellation. Fleming was a last minute savior, in addition to doing a great job for herself.

            • armerjacquino

              So Vaness was offered Ilia after a decade of Elettras, accepted, then said ‘I WANNA SING ELETTRA!’ and cancelled?

              Singers are weird.

            • Regina delle fate

              What a strange story -- maybe Vaness assumed they wanted to engage her for Elettra and then discovered they already had Hildegard and realised they wanted her for Ilia. She was a fabulous Elettra at Glyndebourne and Vitellia at Covent Garden -- up there in my experience with Hildegard (Elettra) and Varady and Baker (Vitellia). It’s a damn shame that Margaret Price never sang either role: she was rumoured to be doing the Böhm Idomeneo in Salzburg in the mid-70 and presumably his recording and she was originally chosen for the Royal Opera Tito with Janet Baker as Sesto. Then she decided not to sing the part and Janet switched to Vitellia. I would also love to have seen Scotto as Vitellia -- in one of her last London concerts she sang Non più di fiori with the LSO and MTT -- unforgettable. I did see Hildegard’s Elettra at the Met though with Cotrubas, Von Stade and Pav. Wonderful old Ponelle staging. Does the Met still trot it out?

            • marshiemarkII

              What a strange story — maybe Vaness assumed they wanted to engage her for Elettra and then discovered they already had Hildegard and realised they wanted her for Ilia.

              The voice of reason Reginissssima. If one were to conjecture, and that is all we can do at this point, it would be precisely that, instead of the weird implications that I am somehow not telling the truth (why would I make this up? absolutely no reason). The possibility is high that they asked Vaness for Idomeneo, she agreed, and the BSO meant Ilia and she assumed Elettra. Since Ozawa had built the whole thing around Behrens, they had already done Fidelio, Elektra, Dutchman, Wozzeck, Mahler 2, Wagner Concert with Liebestodand Salome (don’t remember if before or after Idomeneo), on almost every summer basis, there was no question who would be the Elettra, but when Vaness realized the contract was for Ilia she went berserk. Seems reasonable, right? Otherwise I have no other way to find the exact truth of how or why it happened that way. It was a very starry cast with the divine Rolfe-Johnson, best Idomeneo I ever saw and marvelous Flicka, and it was semi-staged, Hildegard had a fabulous Grecian looking thing that made her look like Medea, and with the big eye lines sort of Maria style, it was a grand evening.

              Yes they still have the old Ponelle production and is coming back next season with Ramon Vargas, and covered by the fabulous new tenor Anthony Kalil (CammiB!!!! you need to be there)

            • marshiemarkII

              Reginisssima I did see Scotto as Vitellia the prima of the new production (I think) and she was fabulous, the hand work for non piu was an amazing thing all by itself (just like had had the same routine 10 years before for D’amor sull’ali rosee)

            • armerjacquino

              marshie, I for one am not implying that you’re making anything up- it’s just that the whole story is so weird. First, the incompetence of offering someone a contract without specifying a role, and secondly the idea of offering Ilia to a great Elettra who was preparing Tosca at the time. All very odd.

            • marshiemarkII

              I thought it would be nearly impossible to “prove” as it were my story, and yet with the miracle of the internet almost anything seems to be provable one way or another. This is what Evans Mirageas has to say in 2012:
              There are no accidents and looking back on my first meeting with Renée Fleming in the summer of 1991, I should have sensed then and there that I was supposed to work with this gifted artist from the get go. It was a ‘Mozart Year’-this one the 200th anniversary of his death. Seiji Ozawa had planned a summer of Mozart at Tanglewood and I had the happy task of bringing his ideas to life. It was a rich menu- piano concertos, symphonies, chamber music and a staged version of Seiji’s favorite Mozart opera Idomeneo. We had a starry cast for that time: Frederica von Stade as Idamante, Hildegard Behrens as Elettra and Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Idomeneo.

              But, just two weeks before our very short week of rehearsals began the manager of the soprano scheduled to sing Ilia called with bad news. His client had decided that the role no longer suited her! However, this enterprising manager, the late Merle Hubbard had an ace up his sleeve, he told me…a young American named Renée Fleming. There was no time to have her come and audition, we took her on faith and boy did she deliver.
              And the full article here:
              http://www.evansmirageas.com/?post_type=blog&p=711

              Now it is more than well-known that Merle Hubbard was the manager of Carol Vaness. She called him one of the five most important men in her life, though she later sued him for some financial issues. It is all in Breslin’s book. Hubbard was not coincidentally also Renee Fleming’s manager at the time. Res ipsa loquitur

            • Krunoslav

              Yes, Regina-- the last time we saw that IDOMENEO was 2006-07:

              17 Idomeneo: Elettra [Behrens, Hildegard]
              7 Idomeneo: Elettra [Deshorties, Alexandra]
              4 Idomeneo: Elettra [Griffel, Kay]
              4 Idomeneo: Elettra [Makarina, Olga]
              4 Idomeneo: Elettra [Serra, Luciana]
              4 Idomeneo: Elettra [Studer, Cheryl]
              27 Idomeneo: Elettra [Vaness, Carol]

              I didn’t see Ms. Serra, but honor compels me to testify that I liked the singing of *all* of the other Elettras-- even, in 2002 if not in 2006, Feldie favorite Ms. Deshorties-- better than Behrens in the role.

              A few other casting after the *prima* cast that were salutary:

              Idomeneo: Idamante [Mentzer, Susanne]
              Idomeneo: Idamante [von Otter, Anne Sofie]
              Idomeneo: Idomeneo [Heppner, Ben]
              Idomeneo: Idomeneo [Rolfe Johnson, Anthony]
              Idomeneo: Ilia [Hong, Hei-Kyung]
              Idomeneo: Ilia [Röschmann, Dorothea]
              Idomeneo: Ilia [Valente, Benita]
              Idomeneo: Ilia [Zoghby, Linda]

            • marshiemarkII

              Yes Kruno, it is well-known that you didn’t care for Behrens’ Elettra, even though the general consensus at the time was that “she had stolen the show from Pavarotti”, among many accolades and ovations, and that is your prerogative as a listener. As well as disliking her GLORIOUS Donna Anna [notwithstanding the fact she could not do the staccatti in Non mi dir, something that led her to drop the role] despite the fact that many thought she had been sublime in the rest of the role, among others Levine and Sir Peter Hall.

              But I am providing evidence above from Evans Mirgeas, who was the person in charge of organizing the event, and his story is exactly as I told it, other than that he for obvious reasons, mentions the name of her manager instead of the diva herself. Do you think there were many other Ilias in Hubbard roster, who claimed they really should be singing Elettra instead?!?!?!?!? and all of this doubting is predicated on your distrusting what I am saying, which I find frankly disrespectful!

              You can claim Vaness was a great Elettra all you want, but the fact is she did agree to sing Ilia, and then decided she really wanted to be Elettra, when you had the world’s reigning Brunnhilde, and favorite of the Music Director of the BSO, already CONTRACTED for the role! very WEIRD behavior indeed!!!!!!

            • Camille

              MMII—!!!
              What staccati in Non mi dir”?????
              They always have been sung that way so as to afford the leap of an octava there, but I believe they are not marked Staccati at all! I don’t think I have a score handy but I’ll go look.

              Just interesting that she would forego it for that reason alone, at least to me. I would have thought Hildy’s high-lying voice would have allowed her to sail through it more or less.

              By the way: you may choose ONE item as your Valentine’s Day present!!:
              http://m.tiffany.com/mobile/shopping/Categorybrowse.aspx?cid=649502&mcat=148206&utm_campaign=020214_US_Statement_YD_F500_Email&utm_medium=email_marketing&utm_source=email_marketing&utm_content=Header_Copy&utm_term=&omcid=EML865&tfr=1

            • marshiemarkII

              CammiB adorada!!!!!!!! you know I had even forgotten about that. She was so mortified that she just simply could not do them, and Jeffery Tate who was conducting told her that they were not even written by Mozart but was just “customary practice”. But still she tried and tried and they would just not happen. She was otherwise simply overwhelmingly glorious in the rest of the music. A breathtaking Vammi ondeggiando il cor with Winbergh, a Wagnerian soprano’s Or sai chi l’onore, sublime trio at end of Act I, and and to me the most absolutely divine the lines after Tergi il ciglio in the sextet:
              Lascia almen alla mia pena
              Questo piccolo ristoro;
              Sol la morte, o mio tesoro,
              II mio pianto può finir.

              THAT was sublimity itself!!!!!. And then the glorious high line at the end, in the Epilogue. Sir Peter Hall waltzed into her dressing room and declared “You were born to sing Donna Anna”, and Levine when he heard about the staccatti contretemps, immediately called her and said “Your Donna Anna is sublime, we will sit down and work together, and in a couple of hours we will have those staccatti down pat”, but she felt she was not delivering at her usual standard, and immediately dropped the role.

              Our loss, it should have been recorded and videoed, and telecast, she was the embodiment of the Spanish Aristocrat with her demeanor and natural nobility in the black dress! Thank God!!!!!!!!!!! there is a magnificent tape of the broadcast in very good stereo sound. It also has a good Neblett (not great anymore but I love her!!!!!) and young James Morris, not to mention the DIVINE Gosta Winbergh.

            • marshiemarkII

              Yellow Diamonds are a GURL’s best friend :lol:

            • Krunoslav

              “Yes Kruno, it is well-known that you didn’t care for Behrens’ Elettra, even though the general consensus at the time was that “she had stolen the show from Pavarotti”, among many accolades and ovations, and that is your prerogative as a listener.”

              I would say that show was *handily *stolen by Frederica von Stade except for the true queens who dozed throughout until Behrens shrieked through her High Camp Mad Scene( granted lots of fun) at the end. Later in the season Benita Valente also stole the also as Ilia.

              I am sorry, I don’t like Mozart sung with a hollow, ugly middle register,no matter how many top notes are ‘glorious” and how much Acting is being exhibited.

              I am sure you’re right about the BSO, mine was not the voice leading that fight. Just odd for Vaness not to ask what part she was singing.

          • CwbyLA

            Marshie, you met Fleming after she won the Tucker Award and you didn’t know who she was? What kind of a serious a opera queen do you claim to be, darling? You should be on moderation for a while and sentenced to listen to Fleming’s bel canto CD :-)

            • marshiemarkII

              I guess I had torn up my opera Q sterling card my carissssimo Cwboy :lol:

              Seriously though, she told us that she had just made her Met debut in the spring, in Nozze (?), “and things are starting to happen for me” I remember quite well still. Meanwhile this Q had ears ONLY for Wagner at that time, traveling the world for another Gotterdammerung somewhere :lol: so I wouldn’t really have had a clue who she was.

      • FomalHaut

  • olliedawg

    I usually defend LaRenee for her glorious singing, but even I must push my jaw up from the pavement at this news. Well…she’ll enjoy the lovely New England town that is Williamstown, and the town will enjoy having RF in their midst, I’m sure. Make sure she checks out some the great restos in the neighb.

  • Krunoslav

    Well, let’s try and think of which theatrical ( preferably non-singing) parts we would like to see various operatic artists perform. Seriously or otherwise.

    For example, a good friend has alway said he felt Elisabeth Schwarzkopf should have played Mathilde von Zahnd in Duerrenmatt’s THE PHYSICISTS.

    Here are a few ideas:

    Karita Mattila and Pavol Breslik in SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH.

    Anna Caterina Antonacci and Charles Castronovo in ORPHEUS DESCENDING

    Kristine Opolais, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Dolora Zajick in ANNA CHRISTIE

    Stephanie Blythe, Dwayne Croft and Neal Davies in MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN

    Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Astrov) and Marina Poplavskaya (Elena) in UNCLE VANYA

    Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna in SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR

    Eva Marton in MOTHER COURAGE

  • havfruen

    It does seem ironic that she is appearing on stage while not so far away the BSO is summering in Tanglewood. I’ve not seen the program, but perhaps she is also covering a singer during that time?

    • operadunce

      She’s singing at Tanglewood on July 5.

  • MontyNostry
    • CwbyLA

      Why do they always describe what the diva is wearing in these interviews?

      • oedipe

        You will notice they also describe what they ate and tell you how much it cost.

        • bluecabochon

          Well, it was in the FINANCIAL Times. :)

        • MontyNostry

          That’s the format for Lunch with the FT, oedipe. But, when written by one of the London journalists, it tends to be less of a straightforward PR piece than this one is … It sounds rather like it’s written from press releases.

          • Regina delle fate

            The guy who wrote it probably has no idea what make Joyce Di Donato special, so he needs the press releases.

            • MontyNostry

              I’m sure Joyce always makes sure her messages get across.

  • peter

    I will never understand why people spend so much time on this site discussing a singer that almost no one here seems to care for. I guess it starts from the top with endless headlines about every aspect of her: her singing, her acting, her looks, her clothes, her career moves. Then everyone piles on like kids in a schoolyard. It’s really juvenile and truly pathetic.

    • kennedet

      Peter, why juvenile and pathetic!!?? Singing is only a part of Renee Fleming. She also is a warm person with sensitivities. I don’t have marshiemark’s experience but have a very dear old friend who knew her before she was famous. Fleming was at a reception with some VIP’s and stopped her conversation to greet my friend who was not allowed to enter the gathering. Also, I learned yesterday she sent her a Christmas Card. She is not on my top ten list of favortite divas but I care for her very much.

      • armerjacquino

        kennedet: I think you may have misread peter’s post. It’s the constant slating of Fleming that he was describing as juvenile and pathetic.

        • kennedet

          If that’s true, I sincerely apologize.

  • La Valkyrietta

    Opera fanatics not talking about opera singers, that would be hard to understand.

    Can Renée act? Can fish fly?