LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rene Fleming's "Verismo"

Rene FlemingĮ

Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di
Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Marco Armiliato
Rene Fleming sings arias by Puccini
and his contemporaries

In Stores: September 15th, 2009
Available Digitally: August 25th, 2009

"This music is the highest expression of drama and passion." Rene Fleming

NEW YORK, NY With well over thirty recording projects on the Decca label to date, iconic American soprano Rene Fleming is easily one of the most recorded opera singers of her generation. Today, Decca proudly releases Verismo, the 15th solo album in as many years by Fleming, featuring opera arias by Puccini and his contemporaries composers of the Verismo style who set the lives and loves of their heroines to music of extraordinary beauty and intensity.

Along with great Puccini favorites from La Bohme, Turandot, La Rondine, Il Trittico and Manon Lescaut, the album also includes rarely heard arias by Verismo composers Mascagni, Catalani, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Cilea, and Zandonai. From the tragedy of the nun Angelica, singing of the son who never knew his mother, to the rapturous young lovers of La Rondine, this is deeply emotional music of love and loss, of triumph and pain. Of the roles she portrays on this album, Mim from Puccini's La Bohme is the only one that Rene Fleming has sung on stage. This album offers a world-premiere recording of the original manuscript version of the aria Sola, perduta, abandonata! from the tragic final scene of Puccinis Manon Lescaut. Star tenor Jonas Kaufmann joins Rene Fleming for an irresistible melody from Act II of Puccinis La Rondine.

Verismo (literally realism) was an artistic movement of the late 19th-Century, which sought to bring the naturalism of writers such as Zola and Ibsen to other art forms, including opera. Known as the giovane scuola (the young school), the Verismo composers wrote operas that were very different to those that came before them, setting stories about real people and their real life struggles. The heroines Rene Fleming portrays include noblewomen (Fedora, Gloria, Angelica), courtesans (Stephana, Magda), Asian waifs (Iris, Li), a Tyrolean village girl (Wally), the avaricious Manon, and three working women: music-hall performer Zaz, seamstress Mim and factory-worker Conchita. The disc covers a concentrated period of Italian opera from the premiere of La Wally in 1892 to that of Turandot in 1926. This rich period saw the creation of more new works than almost any other era in operatic history.

Rene Fleming describes the process of choosing the repertoire for Verismo as a revelation. I was surprised by the sheer volume and variety of the Italian operas from this period, she explains, and the intense emotionality of the music has given voice to some of the most beautiful interpretations I have ever heard. Listening to singers of past generations gives me a real sense of individual style, taste and imagination, Fleming remarks, each voice harbors a singular personality and moment in time. Researching the arias for this collection, Fleming studied recordings by Leontyne Price, Maria Callas and Mirella Freni, the fabulous drama and lyricism of Rosa Ponselle and Zinka Milanov and finally the theatrically committed and searing performances of Magda Olivero, Mafalda Favero, Lynne Strow Piccolo, Rosanna Carteri the singers from the earliest days of recordings who embodied these roles for the first time. It completely stokes my imagination to think that all of these great interpreters were new music specialists, she adds, that generation of singers was the last to devote the majority of its time to creating roles with living composers.

Above all, Fleming remarks, my goal with this recording is to share a broader selection from an especially rich tradition of Italian opera, so that these Verismo heroines can be heard again in all their beauty and complexity.

Following the release of Verismo, Decca presents a DVD of Rene Fleming in one of her greatest stage roles as the Marschallin in Richard Strausss Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Christian Thielemann available October 6th. The dream cast, filmed live at the Baden-Baden Opera Festival, also includes Diana Damrau, Sophie Koch, and Franz Hawlata. This re-staging of a celebrated Herbert Wernicke production is released in time for Rene Flemings appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in Der Rosenkavalier from October 13th through the 22nd.

Rene Fleming Verismo Tracklisting

Puccini Suor Angelica Senza mamma
Mascagni Iris Un d (ero piccina)

Puccini La rondine Denaro nientaltro che denaro! ... Ore dolci e divine

Mascagni Lodoletta Ah! il suo nome! Ķ Flammen, perdonami!

Catalani La Wally N mai dunque avr pace? Ķ Ohim! solo una celia io fui per lui

Puccini La Bohme S. Mi chiamano Mim

Leoncavallo La Bohme Musette svaria sulla bocca viva & Ma vi chetate! Ķ Mim Pinson, la biondinetta

Puccini La Bohme Addio Ķ Donde lieta usc al tuo grido damore

Leoncavallo Zaz Angioletto, il tuo nome?

Puccini Manon Lescaut Sola, perduta, abbandonata!

World premiere recording of original manuscript version

Zandonai Conchita Ier dalla fabbrica a Triana

Cilea Gloria O mia cuna, fiorita di sogni e di melodi

Giordano Fedora Troppo tardi! Tutto tramonta, tutto dilegua

Puccini Turandot Tanto amore segreto e inconfessato Ķ Tu, che di gel sei cinta

Giordano Siberia No! Se un pensier Ķ Nel suo amore rianimata

Puccini La rondine Bevo al tuo fresco sorriso With Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Rene Fleming in Performance USA 2009-2010

September 16 New York Philharmonic Gala Concert, Messiaen with Alan Gilbert
October 3 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert, Barber/Strauss with Paavo Jrvi

October 13 - 22 Metropolitan Opera, Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier with James Levine

December 1 Recital (with Gerald Martin Moore, piano) Seattle

December 6 Recital (with Gerald Martin Moore, piano) Berkeley

December 9 Recital (with Gerald Martin Moore, piano) Santa Barbara

December 12 Recital (with Gerald Martin Moore, piano) Los Angeles

December 17 Recital (with Gerald Martin Moore, piano) Baltimore

January 1 - 15 Metropolitan Opera Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier with James Levine

January 23 Naples, FLArias with Jorge Mester

January 26 Tampa, FLArias with Anton Coppola

January 29 Jackson, MS Arias with Jay Dean

February 11 -13 Boston Symphony Orchestra Strauss/Mahler with James Levine

March 6 Boca Raton, FL Arias with Patrick Summers

April 12- May 15 Metropolitan Opera Rossini: Armida with Riccardo Frizza


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Series 2009


The much-anticipated performance of operas megastar Rene Fleming at Covent Garden is one of the many highlights of DigiScreens Summer Opera/Ballet/Concert Cinema Series, which will screen at selected theatres throughout Canada in July and August. Theatres will present an opera, a ballet and a classical music concert from the great stages of London, England.

The summer series opens on July 25th & 26th, when cinema audiences have the pleasure of experiencing, for the first time in Canada, the excitement of the BBCs LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS from The Royal Albert Hall in London.

On August 15th, Shakespeare meets Mendelssohn meets Balanchine at Sadlers Wells for the enchanting ballet A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM.

Saturday August 29th and August July 30th will be Dont miss Rene Fleming at Covent Garden! days.

On Saturday July 25th and 26th, DigiScreen and the BBC present a first: Canadian audiences will finally experience the exuberance of LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS. The Proms at The Royal Albert Hall has a special place in the hearts of British people and all fans of classical music around the world. The September feast of music is the highlight of the symphonic season, which culminates with the hottest concert ticket in London, LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS! Lucky audiences are treated to the works of leading international artists and an all-embracing classical music programme, introducing new works alongside much-loved classics. Sir Roger Norrington makes his first Last Night appearance leading an all-star dazzling final concert.

On Saturday August 15th, select theatres across Canada will present the enchanting ballet A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM. Choreographed by an artistic genius, George Balanchine and performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Shakespeares comedy of magic and loves delusions set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn is a guaranteed audience pleaser. The Pacific Northwest Ballet displays all the vitality, brilliance and versatility of its wonderful dancers in this awardwinning production of Balanchines first original full-length ballet. Balanchines pure dance magic, Shakespeares stage wizardry and Mendelssohns bewitching tunefulness make for a special experience.

For two presentations only in August (29th and 30th), cinema audiences will be able to enjoy beloved American soprano Rene Fleming on Londons Covent Garden stage starring in The Royal Operas production of Verdis best-loved work LA TRAVIATA. Captured live by Opus Arte in London on June 30th, audiences will see her performance replayed in select theatres throughout Canada. Richard Eyres 2009 production is a revival of his highly acclaimed 1994 staging which dazzled audiences with its striking visual feast. Rene Fleming and company soar with some of the most poignantly tuneful music in all of opera.

Tickets are available at $19.95 + tax per adult, $16.95 + tax per senior and $9.95 + tax per child. For cinema locations and to purchase advance tickets throughout Canada visit For Landmark Cinemas in Alberta and BC, go to For independent theatres in Vancouver and Waterloo, please visit,

About DigiScreen Corporation

DigiScreen is a digital network for the distribution and presentation of independent film and alternative content. DigiScreen launched the network in 2007 with an exclusive collaboration with Opus Arte and the Royal Opera House in London. Thanks to this collaboration, the company is able to showcase the worlds most prestigious contemporary performing arts companies in an ongoing series of spectacular operas and ballets. These productions are captured live, in High Definition, from locations such as Covent Garden (London), Palais Garnier (Paris), Teatro Real (Madrid), Liceu (Barcelona), War Memorial (San Francisco) and other great stages of the world. DigiScreen Corporation, in partnership with Opus Arte, releases 16-20 HD productions throughout the year. These HD productions are presented exclusively by DigiScreen and its partners to audiences in more than 300 cinemas across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and Australia. Presentations in South Africa and other territories will be starting shortly.

For photos, more information or to find a participating theatre near you, please visit or contact Blair Haynes, 514-847-3537 ext 4520

                      About The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House is the home of three world class performing companies - The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, and The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. It is a focal point for Englands national and international artistic excellence, where the evolving traditions of opera and ballet are taken to the highest levels. It is a shining symbol of excellence without compromise since 1732.

About Opus Arte

Opus Arte, owned by the Royal Opera House, has been recording in High Definition for the past decade and has amassed a substantial catalogue of outstanding productions from around the world. Opus Arte led the way by being the first company to release a Classical HD-DVD, and also the first to release a Classical Blu-ray disc into the world market. Working closely with top organizations such as the BBC and TVE, Opus Arte has enabled a large number of people to share the magic of seeing an opera or ballet from the worlds top opera houses.

About BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBCs assets for the benefit of the licence payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has seven core businesses: BBC Worldwide Channels, BBC Worldwide Content & Production, BBC Worldwide Digital Media, BBC Worldwide Global Brands, BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution, BBC Magazines and BBC Home Entertainment. In 2007/08, BBC Worldwide generated profits of 117.7million on sales of 916.3million.

For more about The Pacific Northwest Ballet, please go to:

For more about The Royal Opera House, please go to:

For more about Opus Arte, please go to:

Bravo! is the proud television sponsor for the DigiScreens Summer Cinema Series. For more information on Bravo! please visit

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Renee Fleming Makes Her Maine Debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, February 17


Concert is PSO's first endowment benefit event and Fleming's Maine debut

PORTLAND, Maine At a once-in-a-lifetime event, superstar soprano Rene Fleming makes her Maine debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO), honoring Robert Moody's inaugural season in an endowment benefit concert. The event will be held at Merrill Auditorium on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a Concert Conversation, in partnership with PORTopera, in the Rehearsal Hall at 6:15 p.m.

One of the greatest sopranos of this, or any, era, Rene Fleming is at the peak of her powers. Her purity of tone, musical intelligence and grace allow her to excel on operatic stages and in orchestral settings, but it is in recital where her subtlest gifts shine through. With the PSO she will perform works from both the classical and popular repertoire including: Richard Strauss' Suite from Der Rosenkavalier and Four Last Songs, "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady, "Carousel Waltz" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel, and more.

Rene Fleming charms audiences with her performances throughout the world. Her voice has been described as "one of a kind, with a combination of incredible technical control, emotional vividness and presence, and sheer, incandescent beauty of sound." She performed as the soloist at New York's Metropolitan Opera's Opening Night Gala on September 22, 2008 and returns in Massenet's Thas and Dvok's Rusalka. Later this season, she appears in La Traviata at London's Covent Garden.

Illustrative of her stature, in the last year Fleming has launched her own fragrance, La Voce by Rene Fleming, and has even had a flower (The Rene Fleming Iris) and a dessert (La Diva Rene, by famed chef Daniel Boulud) named in her honor. A two-time Grammy winner, Fleming's most recent CD is Strauss: Four Last Songs, conducted by Christian Thielemann (2008). She is featured on the Metropolitan Opera's recording of Eugene Onegin which is currently under consideration for a 2009 Grammy. Her numerous awards include Sweden's Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Lgion d'Honneur by the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and a 2003 honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School, where she was also commencement speaker.

This is the first time the PSO has held an endowment benefit concert. The PSO's endowment provides financial security for the PSO's concert and education activities, and acts as a safety net especially during fluctuations in the economic climate. "Though orchestras typically maintain a minimum 3:1 ratio of endowment to operating budget, the PSO's is less than 1:1, which makes this special event all the more significant," said Gordon Gayer, president of the Board of Trustees. "We are thrilled to welcome Rene Fleming for this special event, especially during Robert Moody's inaugural season, and are grateful to the patrons who are supporting the future of the PSO through their ticket purchases to this concert, as well as those who support the Symphony throughout the year."

Serving the city of Portland, the state of Maine, and northern New England, the PSO is the largest performing arts organization in Maine. With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country.

Tickets to An Evening with Rene Fleming range from $65 to $140 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or (Phone and internet orders are subject to $5 per ticket handling fee.) Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. For complete season information, including artist biographies and program notes, visit

Full Program for An Evening With Rene Fleming
Portland Symphony Orchestra February 17, 2009 7:30 PM

  • Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (Richard Strauss)
  • Four Last Songs (Richard Strauss): These songs for soprano and orchestra were written in 1948, a year before Strauss' death at age 85. He never saw them performed. Ms. Fleming has recorded Four Last Songs twice and is well-known for her Strauss repertoire.
  • Morgen (Morning) (Richard Strauss): Strauss composed "Morgen" as the final piece in a set of four songs in 1894. Known for his large-scale operas and tone poems, Strauss' lieder are examples of his genius for delicate intimacy as well. "Morgen" is filled with late romantic musical language but requires in performance the clarity and exquisite simplicity of any Mozart aria.
  • A Letter from Sullivan Ballou (John Kander): By the composer of Cabaret and Chicago, the song is a story of a touching letter by a Union major expressing his love for his family and country before heading off to fight in the Civil War. Featured on Ken Burns' PBS documentary, The Civil War.
  • "Carousel Waltz" from Carousel (Richard Rodgers)
  • Two Rivers Medley (arranged by Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour): A blending of the songs Shenandoah and The Water is Wide.
  • "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin)
  • "So in Love" from Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter)
  • "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady (Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe)

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