One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence.
At a White House ceremony in July of this year, the President awarded Ms. Fleming the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for an individual artist. Known as “the people’s diva” and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, she continues to grace the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other musical forms and media. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.
As a musical statesman, Renée Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. In January 2009, Ms. Fleming was featured in the televised We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President Obama. In 2012, in an historic first, Ms. Fleming sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Ms. Fleming has also performed for the United States Supreme Court and, in November 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic’s “Velvet Revolution” at the invitation of Václav Havel. An additional distinction was bestowed in 2008 when, breaking a precedent, Ms. Fleming became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.
In 2012, Renée Fleming added a new role to her repertoire, Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, at Baden-Baden in a new production by Philippe Arlaud, conducted by Christian Thielemann. She appeared in the title role of Arabella in a new production at the Paris Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan. Her Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, under the baton of Constantin Trinks, was seen at the Munich Opernfestspiele. Renée began the 2012-13 season as Desdemona in Otello at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, and broadcast around the world via the MET Opera Live in HD. 2013 will find her at Carnegie Hall and Lyric Opera of Chicago in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, playing Blanche DuBois, a role she created in the world premiere. In June of 2013, she returns to Vienna as the Countess in Strauss’s Cappriccio, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach .
Renée’s busy concert calendar this year has included galas at the San Diego Opera, Providence Performing Arts Center, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as well as appearances with the Seattle, Vancouver, Oregon, Colorado, San Antonio, Baltimore, and Cincinnati Symphony orchestras and the Santiago Philharmonic. Renée began the 2012-13 season singing for the inaugural concerts of Christian Thielemann as principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and Yannick Nézet-Séguin as Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Her 2012-13 recital schedule includes Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Quito, Bogota, Guayaquil, Paris, Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Taipei. A January 2013 duo recital tour with Renée’s friend, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, includes San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Desert, Chicago, New York and Boston.
A four-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming won the 2013 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy Award for Poèmes (Decca, 2012), a collection of 20th-Century French music, including works composed especially for her by Henri Dutilleux. In June 2010, Decca and Mercury records released the CD Dark Hope, which features Ms. Fleming covering songs by indie-rock and pop artists. Recent DVD releases include Handel’s Rodelinda, Massenet’s Thaïs and Rossini’s Armida, a three in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series, and Verdi’s Traviata, filmed at London’s Royal Opera House. Ms. Fleming’s 2010 DVD Renée Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg follows Ms. Fleming and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Russia, where they explore and perform in some of St. Petersburg’s most historic locations. In recent years, this fourteen-time Grammy nominated artist has recorded everything from Strauss’s complete Daphne to the jazz album Haunted Heart to the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. She recorded Alexandre Desplat’s theme song, “Still Dream” for the soundtrack of the Dreamworks Animation feature, “Rise of the Guardians,” a major Thanksgiving 2012 release. Her recording honors range from the 2009 Echo Award for Strauss’s Four Last Songs to the Prix Maria Callas Orphée d’Or by the Académie du Disque Lyric for TDK’s DVD production of Capriccio. In February, 2012, Ms. Fleming received the Victoire d’Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique.
Renée Fleming’s artistry has been an inspiration to many other prominent artists, such as Chuck Close and Robert Wilson, whose portraits of her were included in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 fundraising auction. Two portraits of Ms. Fleming were also created by Francesco Clemente, who revealed one in Salzburg in spring 2007, with the Metropolitan Opera displaying the other in 2008. Photographic portraits include works by Brigitte Lacombe, Annie Leibovitz, and Irving Penn, among others.
Ms. Fleming is a champion of new music and has performed works by a wide range of contemporary composers, including recent compositions by Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, André Previn, and Wayne Shorter. Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2011); Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); theChevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University (2012), the Eastman School of Music (2011) and The Juilliard School (2003), where she was also commencement speaker.
An advocate for literacy, Renée Fleming has been featured in promotional campaigns for the Association of American Publishers (Get Caught Reading), and the Magazine Publishers of America’s READ poster campaign for the American Library Association. She was honored by The New York Public Library as a “Library Lion.” Her book, The Inner Voice, was published by Viking Penguin in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year. An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is also published in France by Fayard Editions, in the United Kingdom by Virgin Books, by Henschel Verlag in Germany, Shunjusha in Japan, and by Fantom Press in Russia.
In addition to her work on stage and in recordings, Renée Fleming has represented Rolex timepieces in print advertising since 2001. In 2008, she launched La Voce by Renée Fleming, a fragrance designed for her, with the proceeds benefiting the Metropolitan Opera. Master Chef Daniel Boulud created the dessert “La Diva Renée” (1999) in her honor, and she inspired the “Renée Fleming Iris” (2004), which has been replicated in porcelain by Boehm. Having been added to Mr. Blackwell’s best dressed list, her concert gowns have been designed by Reem Acra, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano for Dior, Douglas Hannant, Christian Lacroix, Oscar de la Renta, Angel Sanchez and Vivienne Westwood. In addition to serving as the face of opera for two public transit campaigns in New York and London, Ms. Fleming has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…, The Viewand Prairie Home Companion as “Renata Flambé,” among numerous other media outlets.
Ms. Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie HallCorporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Advisory Board of the White Nights Foundation of America. In 2010, she was named the first ever Creative Consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is currently curating the creation of a world-premiere opera based on the best-seller Bel Canto for Lyric Opera’s 2015-2016 season.