A Recital with Renée Fleming


A Recital with Renée Fleming - Vienna at the Turn of the 20th Century. Renée Fleming, an American, accompanied by pianist Maciej Pikulski, gives in 2012 a recital at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.  The recital includes works by Wolf, Mahler, Zemlinsky, Schoenberg, and Korngold. Directed for TV by Brian Large. Released 2014, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Eric Meyers, writing in the February 2015 Opera News (page 59) admires Fleming's courage in giving this concert of mostly German-language songs to the toughest audience on the planet for such material. He notes that Fleming's voice is no longer as powerful as before (in the opera house) and "now makes her better suited to intimate evenings such as this one." David Patrick Sterns, writing in the 2014 December Gramophone (page 93-94) is more critical. He thinks her "voice and face sometimes tell different stories" and that in some cases  her "visual presentation is so overwrought that she's ripe for intervention from Overactresses Anonymous."

Whom to believe? I would be inclined to take a chance on this: we have Fleming singing, in 2010, three long and difficult selections in German on the HDVD An Evening with Renée Fleming (at the Berlin Waldbühne). Her delivery was energetic in that event. You could tell the crowd loved her, in part, I think, because her German diction is unbelievably good for someone whose mother language is English. She has obviously worked long and hard on her German as a specialist in singing in Richard Strauss operas. This gives her the credentials to preach sermons to the choir in Vienna.