Bringing down the house

Internationally acclaimed soprano Renee Fleming concludes the 2011 Jerusalem Season of Culture.

Renee Fleming 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Renee Fleming 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Opera diva Renee Fleming comes to Israel for her first concert in Jerusalem on July 28 at Binyenei Ha’uma. The renowned mega-soprano, who specializes in both opera and lieder, will be accompanied by the Israel Philharmonic under maestro Zubin Mehta. This concert, enriched by special visual effects, will bring down the curtain on the Jerusalem Season of Culture 2011.
Born into a music family – her parents were high school vocal music teachers – she started singing before she spoke “because, as a toddler,” she recollects, “I had to sit next to my mother all day long while she gave voice lessons.” Although she grew up under the guidance “of the true stage mother and was in all kinds of musical productions and studied piano, voice, violin and dance,” she was first attracted to jazz and only later switched to classics.
Fleming is a Juilliard School of Music graduate and started performing as a student, but her big break came in her late 20s when she sang the role of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro in Houston. She later repeated her success at the Metropolitan in the same role, and since then has been singing on the best opera stages worldwide, performing coloratura, lyric and lighter spinto soprano repertoires. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech and Russian, aside from English, and even learned Elvish for the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, which “put her in touch with a whole new audience, including my children’s friends.”
But her true signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi’s Othello, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, the title role in Dvorak’s Rusalka, the title roles in Massenet’s Manon and Thais, the Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and the title role in Arabella.
Prominent conductor Sir Georg Solti said of Fleming, “In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing; the other was Renata Tebaldi.”
A divorced mother of two, Fleming has limited her concert and operatic appearances so she can spend more time with her daughters, who will be accompanying her in Israel. After the concert, Fleming will spend some time in Israel touring the country, which she sees as a “thrilling experience.”
The concert takes place on July 28 at Jerusalem’s Binyenei Ha’uma at 9 p.m. The program features arias by Verdi, Gounod, Massenet, Rimsky-Korsakov, Albeniz and Puccini. For reservations: 1-700-70-30-30.