Classic review: Renee Fleming

This unique combination of her voice’s sheer beauty, personal charm and stage presence made Fleming’s performance an uncommon artistic experience.

By URY EPPSTEIN
July 31, 2011 23:01
1 minute read.
Renee Fleming

Renee Fleming311. (photo credit: Andrew Eccles)

 
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For the crowd that flocked to the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) for soprano Renee Fleming, it was somewhat of a disappointment to hear her in three solos only, in a program of 12 pieces, including two duets with tenor Joseph Calleja.

Excellently and impressively performed though the orchestral renditions were, conducted by Zubin Mehta, one can hear these, after all, throughout the season, even in the absence of Fleming. Forcing them on a captive audience of Fleming devotees was an act of disregard by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

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The highlight was Puccini’s aria Vissi d’arte from Tosca, after Gounod’s opening Flower Song from Faust had still displayed some signs of a warm-up piece. In Tosca, Fleming’s lovely, soft, caressing and delicate voice, and her profound yet discreet emotional expression flowered at its most captivating. Ascending to the highest notes with an almost inaudible piano and then letting it swell gradually to the utmost intensity was a rare artistic achievement.

In Puccini’s aria of Gianni Schicchi, as an encore, she then revealed her irresistible vocal and personal charm.

Her penchant for enchanting operatic though not exaggerated acting was demonstrated in duos, with Calleja, from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Verdi’s La Traviata.

This unique combination of her voice’s sheer beauty, personal charm and stage presence made Fleming’s performance an uncommon artistic experience.

Jerusalem ICC, July 28


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