An Evening with Renée Fleming


An Evening with Renée Fleming concert. Every summer the Berliner Philharmoniker gives an outdoor concert at the Berlin Waldbühne. This is the 2010 event with the theme of  "Nacht der Liebe" or "Night of Love."  Ion Marin conducts 16 selections in the concert including 9 Fleming songs. Here's the playlist:

  •  Mussorgsky Night on Bare Mountain
  •  Dvořák "Mešíčku na nebi hlubokém" from Rusalka (Fleming)
  •  Aram Chatschaturjan Spartacus and Phrygia from Spartacus
  •  Richard Strauss "Morgen Mittag um elf!" from Capriccio (Fleming)
  •  Wagner Overture to Rienzi
  •  Korngold "Glück, das mir verblieb" from Die tote Stadt (Fleming)
  •  Richard Strauss Zueignung (Fleming)
  •  Elgar Salut d'amour
  •  Puccini "Donde lieta uscì" from La Bohème (Fleming)
  •  Leoncavallo "Musette svaria sulla bocca viva" from La Bohème (Fleming)
  •  Leoncavallo "Mimì Pinson, la biondinetta" from La Bohème (Fleming)
  •  Puccini "Tu che di gel sei cinta" from Turandot (Fleming)
  •  Tchaikovshy Romeo and Juliet
  •  Gregoriaş Dinicu Hora staccato
  •  Puccini "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi (Fleming)
  •  Paul Lincke Berliner Luft

Directed for TV by Henning Kasten; produced by Dorothea Diekmann and Bernd Hellthaler. Released  2010, the disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B

This is a long and sophisticated program for an outdoor concert. "The Faces of Love" might have been a better theme for this than "Night of Love." Rather than focus on the thrill of infatuation, the music here considers such topics as longing, eloquent courtship, scheming for love, flirtatious love, the choices required by love, the joy of a wedding, the pain of breaking up, gratitude for love, the loyalty of love, and love that survives death. The program opens with Night on Bald Mountain, which is inspired, we surmise, by orgiastic love.

Please check out our comments about the venue and the event in our earlier review of the 2009 Waldbühne Concert.

Each of the instruments seem to have been recorded with separate microphones. For example, there are 2 harps and each has its own mike. Each violin and viola appears to have been wired individually. Still, the sound recording seems a bit muddy and harsh.  The Hora scattato encore was cheered loudly by the crowd, but the recording sounded confused and defective to us. So we have to grade down the recording of the orchestra.

Fleming, however, was radiant both to sight and sound. In the Korngold number she sang and spoke in German with astonishingly good pronunciation and diction. The crowd seem to have strong rapport with her even though some some of her selections were quiet celebrial.

PQ is weak with video images that are grainy and pasty. On the other hand, we applaud Henning Kasten for showing down the pace of the video and mitigating substantially the symptoms of DVDitis that we see in many symphony videos,

Now for a grade. The best we can do for the orchestra with the peculiar sound issues and mediocre video would be a "C." But Fleming's fine performance in more than half of the numbers rates an "A." So our combined grade is "B."

Here's a nice YouTube clip: