An all-American diva, Fleming has an adventurous spirit to go with her operatic glamour, fine acting, and lovely lyric soprano.
Born: Born: February 14, 1959 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Rochester, N.Y.
- 1988: Fleming wins the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. Major debuts follow.
- 1991: She makes her Met debut as Countess Almaviva (Marriage of Figaro) and also sings Rosina in the world premiere of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.
- 1994: She plays Madame de Tourvel in the world premiere of Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons at San Francisco Opera.
- 1998: She triumphs as Blanche DuBois in the world premiere of Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire at San Francisco opera.
- 2001: She sings at Ground Zero shortly after the attack on the Twin Towers.
- 2002: She graces the soundtrack to Howard Shore's score for The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, Part III.)
- 2009: She sings the world premiere of Henri Dutilleux's Les temps d'horloge.
- 2010: She releases an album of rock/ pop covers and appears on Good Morning America performing Muse's “Endlessly.”
Renee Fleming - "O mio babbino caro" by Gianni Schicchi
- Secret Sharer: Fleming has written a revealing memoir, The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer, and she has an avid Twitter following.
- Photogenic: The soprano's fine looks have been captured in portraits by Annie Leibowitz, Brigitte Lacomb and others.
- All That Jazz: In her early training, Fleming had to choose between jazz and classical careers; though she chose classical music, she supported herself singing jazz while at Juilliard School. She has appeared on Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin's album Two Worlds
SFCV Articles Featuring Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming surprised us on Sunday night. Walking onto the Zellerbach Hall stage for her virtually sold-out Cal Performances recital, ensconced in a form-fitting, gorgeous green dress that would be the envy of any prom queen, she looked as beautiful as ever. But no one expected her, after she took her place alongside the piano, to pick up a microphone and address the audience.
Renée Fleming is one of the opera world’s most recognizable divas. Blessed with gorgeous good looks and a golden voice, the Pennsylvania-born soprano started her career in Mozart roles and soon moved on to her favorite composer, Richard Strauss. Today, her repertoire includes a wide variety of roles, including Rusalka, Tatiana, Alcina, and Blanche DuBois in André Previn’s Streetcar Named Desire, a role she brought to luminous life in the opera’s world premiere at San Francisco Opera. Fleming returns to the Bay Area for a recital Dec. 6, presented by Cal Performances; I spoke to her by phone in New York.
Eyebrows rise at the thought of Renée Fleming, a soprano who has built her reputation on the creamy beauty she brings to lyric soprano roles created by Mozart, Strauss, and others, singing the wrenching verismo repertoire of Puccini, Mascagni, Catalani, Cilea, and others. Verismo is about blood and guts, sweat and suffering, and enough over-the-top singing to sear the makeup off Fleming’s ubiquitous glamour shots. It’s about vocalism with an edge, vocalism that takes risks. You can’t utter a convincing death shriek while simultaneously ensuring that your tonal center always remains intact.
Recent CD Reviews
Gardiner: Bach Cantatas
John Wilson Orchestra: Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies
Gordon Getty: Piano Pieces
Emanuel Ax: Variations