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Musical Theatre - Released September 7, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 6, 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

The voice of Renée Fleming is one of the most beautiful in opera. Her wide range of roles, from Handel's Alcina to her appearance in Previn's A Streetcar named Desire, display a breadth of interest in and curiosity about the byways of opera. This recital covers some of the greatest soprano arias from Bellini to Puccini. All have been recorded many times, and most listeners will have a favorite version as a touchstone performance. As lovely one may find much of the singing, it is possible to be troubled by this disc. Perhaps in an effort to avoid the criticism of blandness often applied to Kiri Te Kanawa, Fleming has gone too far in trying to inflect every word with deep meaning. The tempo and phrasing are played-with so much that at times you may be reminded of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, although Fleming never goes to her extremes. There are times when just allowing the music to makes its point is enough. The recitative preceding Nedda's "Bird song" in I Pagliacci is simply too weighty for the character. Unfortunately the recitative to the Adriana Lecouvreur aria is omitted -- and that would be the place for such an approach. "Casta diva" needs to have its cabaletta to fulfill the form of the piece. The French arias are the best items, and it is good to have a recording of the "Bolero" from Verdi's Les Vèpres siciliennes in the original French. Fleming's high E at the end is fine, but Mackerras should have utilized the traditional concert ending; the coda is too long for recital purposes. Nitpicking aside, there is fine singing on this disc -- but its approach is too intellectual for the content. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 14, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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A long break. In the fall of 2018, Renée Fleming sang for Broadway musicals under the BBC Concert Orchestra led by Rob Fisher including the likes of Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, and some lesser-known names. A little unexpected yet welcome, with this new work, the American soprano returns to a more traditional repertoire. To be precise, she puts forward a very beautiful selection of Brahms’ Lieder, the entirety of Schumann’s Fraueliebe und -Leben Op. 42, and finally Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder in an orchestral interpretation led by Christian Thielemann with the Münchner Philharmoniker. Today, Renée Fleming’s tone is perfectly crepuscular, autumnal and suitable for these Lieders filled with melancholy. Harmut Höll’s accompaniments are beautiful (especially in Brahms), and the direction of Thielemann is often poetic
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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

The Art of Renée Fleming is essentially an album of the soprano's most popular hits, probably not targeted at listeners who are already big fans (who are likely to already have the albums from which these selections were culled), but at more general audiences interested in expanding their operatic horizons. With a few very familiar exceptions, the songs and arias are from the Romantic and post-Romantic eras, and showcase the luxurious creaminess of Fleming's voice and her ability to spin out melodic lines with seamless, soaring lyricism. The album does not offer a representative sample of what Fleming can do -- its narrow focus excludes music of the Classical, Modern, and Contemporary eras, in all of which she excels -- but what it does it does very well. The recital albums from which these selections were taken were recorded between 1997 and 2010. Fleming receives stellar accompaniment from some of the world's finest conductors and orchestras, including (to name only a few) Georg Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra, James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater. There are four bonus tracks of songs from outside the classical repertoire: "Wheels of a Dream" from the musical Ragtime; Amazing Grace, in a lovely arrangement by violinist Mark O'Connor; You'll Never Walk Alone; and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." These songs demonstrate Fleming's versatility and natural ability to cross effortlessly into jazz and popular styles. The recorded sound throughout is flawlessly engineered. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 1, 1998 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Sure, it takes guts for a soprano to call an album THE BEAUTIFUL VOICE. But Renée Fleming did it, and the title fits. Fleming, a recognized performer with a wealth of talent, had the luxury of being allowed to program the music she loved--music as gratifying to sing as it is to hear. With careful and varied support from Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra, Fleming's program is a wash of exquisite music, mostly about love: longing for lost love (in "Marietta's Lied"); first knowing love (in "Depuis le jour"); in youth (the "Jewel Song"); and in old age ("The last rose"). Fleming is at her best here in operatic selections in which the diva halts the action to tell a story, to dwell in a moment, or to draw her on- and off-stage audiences into the action. There is some well-trodden ground here, but long, flowing lines and sumptuous, floating high notes keep the program fresh. In a market glutted with artist-centered albums, THE BEAUTIFUL VOICE is a standout. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

This collection of arias and scenes from verismo operas will be a must-have for fans of Renée Fleming. Fleming is in excellent voice, singing with her characteristic immaculate technique, creamy tone, warmth, and dramatic incisiveness. The disc should also appeal to fans of obscure verismo because it includes, in addition to some of the standards, a good selection of rarities, including excerpts from Leoncavallo's La bohème and Zazà, Zandonai's Conchita, Cilea's Gloria, and Giordano's Siberia. These are mostly roles Fleming is unlikely to have an opportunity to sing on-stage, so it's especially valuable to have her insightful and beautifully executed interpretations recorded here. Besides being balanced between familiar and more obscure repertoire, the album gives Fleming a chance to shine in music spanning a broad range of emotions, from the wrenchingly poignant to the girlishly lighthearted. In "Senza Mamma," which opens the album, Fleming sings with aching grief, and shapes the aria with grace and dignity. She is also memorably touching in "Angioletto, il tuo nome?," an extended scene from Zazà. Among the most appealing selections are the excerpts from La Rondine, which show Fleming at her most joyfully radiant. Marco Armiliato, leading Coro e Orchestra Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, provides exemplary accompaniments, attentively responsive to the singer, but at the same time full of individuality and character. Decca's sound is clean, present, and well-balanced. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca US (Classics)

Haunted Heart is the debut of the "other" Renée Fleming -- the smoky chanteuse lurking behind America's most prominent operatic soprano. It is a transformation so organic and whole that it may astonish even those who already know of Fleming's history with jazz singing. Make no mistake: this is not "Renée sings Jazz" in the vein of "Kiri Sings Cole Porter," or even "Dawn Upshaw Sings Rodgers and Hart." This is not an operatic voice in wonderland. It is a new voice, the voice of an entirely different musical persona, and on its own terms something quite successful. The husky yet limpid, entirely un-operatic sound Fleming cultivates for this album is distinctive and original, not the result of mimicry. But if you need an image to conceptualize what you'll hear, think Anita Baker or a leaner-sounding Patti Cathcart: deep, warm, breathy, but with deceptive freedom and clarity. Paired with the sprawling pianism of Fred Hersch and the effects-laden guitar of Bill Frisell, Fleming's singing stands strangely out of time, neither old nor fully modern. It is decidedly old fashioned in many ways, a return to the front-and-center vocalism of the 1940s and 1950s -- an album about songs, and about singing. But the eclectic track list -- including famous songs by Lennon and McCartney, Bill Carey, Stevie Wonder, Gustav Mahler (yes, that Gustav Mahler), and Stephen Foster -- could only be a product of postmodern thinking, in which boundaries of time and style become increasingly meaningless. That eclecticism is a great strength of Haunted Heart. Hearing Fleming deliver a torch song to beat all in "You've Changed," only to follow it up with the joyful "My Cherie Amour" and then a stylishly down-tempo rendition of "In My Life" gives new legs, and fresh context, to all three. But that inclusiveness eventually catches up with Fleming, and the second half of the album begins to wander as she inserts songs from the Classical repertory. Mahler's "Liebst du um Schönheit" seems lonely clothed only in sparse guitar accompaniment; and Emile Paladilhe's "Psyché" suddenly transports Fleming back to the soprano register -- the only time on the entire album when you'll be reminded of Fleming's concert singing. Fleming shows admirable expressive versatility, and fluidity that few singers of any style could match. Her singing is deeply honest and imbued with an arresting sexuality. Frisell's distinctive guitar echoes give a surreal poignancy to the plaintive "Answer Me," and a snappy good nature to "When Did You Leave Heaven?" His finest moment is the concluding "Hard Times Come Again No More," in which his gentle accompaniment mirrors the change of text and vocal inflection throughout each of the four verses. Fred Hersch's arrangements are for the most part very effective, though they have a tendency to ramble, squandering songs' momentum and sense of structure. His playing, and especially his accompanying in slow ballads, shows exquisite touch and sensitivity, and a fluid sense of rhythm that is both enveloping and clear. © TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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As a genre, holiday music has an entirely different alignment than most, being song- and theme-driven, and any approach, from pop, rock, country, blues, and jazz to new age and classical, will work. And since it is also seasonal, and therefore shared by all, it's the ultimate crossover genre, a kind of jointly shared catalog of songs full of ready-made motifs and themes, and in the case of Christmas music, a unified hope for joy and peace on earth. What soprano Renée Fleming has done with the David Frost-produced Christmas in New York, her first holiday album, is add place to the mix. Conjuring moments of a wintery carriage ride through Central Park, twinkling lights, and bright fallen snow on 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center aglow, and chestnuts roasting on every corner, Fleming's first Christmas album, although tracked in the studio, flows and unfolds like a limited-run seasonal Broadway stage tribute to the city, complete with a host of guests like Kelli O'Hara, Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Porter, Brad Mehldau, and Wynton Marsalis. There's a gentle, jazzy, folky crossover pop feel to things, with Fleming's beautiful voice showing endless little stylistic variations from track to track, from the opening "Winter Wonderland," which features Marsalis-led horns, through the country-folk-tinged "Silver Bells" (a duet with O'Hara), and then closing things out in a nice story arc with the Christmas lullaby "Still, Still, Still," a duet with Kurt Elling. The curveball here, and one of the best tracks, is a gorgeous and hushed version of Sandy Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" (featuring Mehldau), which shows just how versatile this timeless song (which one would not, at first, think of as a Christmas song) is, and in Fleming's hands, it sums up the rush and glow, hurry and flow and emotional pull of a Christmas season in New York City. Look for this set to become a seasonal favorite. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Apart from several Massenet operas, the music of French composers has never been central to Renée Fleming's recorded repertoire. This disc of French orchestral songs spanning more than a century, including Ravel's Shéhérazade, Messiaen's Poèmes pour Mi, and Dutilleux's Sonnets de Jean Cassou and Le Temps l'horloge (which Fleming premiered in 2009), demonstrates the singer's absolute mastery of the music and its idioms. Her affinity for the subtlety of the language is evident in her languid, sensual performance of Shéhérazade. Fleming has not often been associated with modern music more progressive than André Previn's, but her performances of the Messiaen and Dutilleux offer proof of her remarkable versatility. Messiaen wrote Poèmes pour Mi for "grande soprano dramatique," which generally doesn't describe Fleming, but she draws on the luxuriant richness that she brings to Strauss to provide all the power and drama the songs call for. Messiaen doesn't make things easy for his singer, but Fleming is entirely persuasive in his treacherous, low-lying recitative (which she puts across with scary fierceness) as well his ecstatic, high-soaring arioso. This is especially evident in "Action des grâces," which begins with the first and ends with the second. The songs throb with Romantic passion but they are also are clearly products of the Messiaen's distinctive, sometimes brash, modernism and it's a measure of conductor Alan Gilbert's achievement that he doesn't stint on giving full expression to either strain. His balance of tenderness and ferocity, along with Fleming's luminous singing, makes this one of the most gripping recordings of the song cycle. Dutilleux, who wrote Le Temps l'horloge for the soprano between 2006 and 2009, knows how to make the voice sound fabulous and Fleming knows how to sell the songs, to bring the music to thrilling life. Seiji Ozawa leads Orchestra National de France in the live recording of the world premiere of that work. In the other pieces Gilbert conducts Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France. The conductors and the players convey an embodied understanding of this music and perform it with vibrant energy and nuance. Decca's sound is impeccable and beautifully balanced. Highly recommended for Fleming's admirers and anyone who loves French vocal music. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Forging a unique creative relationship, Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin's mutual professional history extends back some two decades. Ritenour was a core artist on Grusin's label, GRP, throughout the 1980s and early '90s; in 1986, they first collaborated on the Grammy Award winning Harlequin, a critically-acclaimed, Brazilian-themed recording. Ritenour also appeared on many of the pianist/composer's film scores and solo recordings, and the two jammed together on GRP Super Live in 1987. Two Worlds, the classical-oriented labor of love that reunites the two legends, is more than simply a beautiful creative departure from their usual jazz-oriented projects. A blend of original compositions and respectful reworkings of timeless classics from Bach, Bartok, Villalobos, Mompov, and Segovia, the collection -- which features stellar guest performances by opera star Renee Fleming, violinist Gil Shaham, and cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber -- finds Ritenour and Grusin joyously reconnecting with their rich classical roots. Among the highlights are the lush, highly percussive Vivaldi/Bach piece "Bach Concerto, featuring a twenty-piece string section; "Bachianas Aria," a piece from Brazilian composer Villalobos, provides a showcase for opera diva Renee Fleming. As for the original compositions, there's the haunting, melodic "Elegia," which Grusin composed many years ago for his late father, a violinist, featuring Gil Shaham; "Lagrima (Lee's Prelude)," a graceful Ritenour original led by the classical guitar; "River's Song," Grusin's clever medley adaptation of the folk songs "The Water Is Wide" and "Shenandoah," featuring Fleming on vocals and "Canto," an Italian-styled "winter song" which Grusin originally wrote for a Ritenour project in the late '70s. Timeless yet contemporary, Two Worlds is beautiful reunion of these musical soul mates. © Jonathan Widran /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg

Incredibly, the world's greatest living conductor is getting better as he gets older. It's true -- Claudio Abbado, whose combination of effortless technique, lucid textures, and luminous tone coupled with his endless love for music has made him the preeminent conductor of our time, has only gotten better with age. Abbado's first Mahler's Fourth from 1978 is beautifully played by the Vienna Philharmonic, radiantly sung by Frederica von Stade, and joyously conducted by the young Maestro at the first peak of his powers. After his successful years with the Berlin Philharmonic and especially after some health problems, Abbado's second Mahler's Fourth from 2005 is extraordinarily spiritually led by the old Master at the peak of his interpretative abilities. His fluent technique is even more refined, but Abbado now seems more relaxed and thus more expressive than before, allowing and even encouraging portamento and vibrato. His lucid textures are less contrapuntal now and more flowing and his luminous lines are more lyrical and even more luminous. And his endless love of music -- and of life -- has infused the performance with a tangible sense of transcendence. The Berlin Philharmonic responds to its former music director with obvious affection and consummate artistry. Some listeners might find that Renée Fleming is too ironically maternal for the child's view of heaven that closes the symphony, but no listener will complain that Fleming is anything less than incandescently erotic in Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder that closes the disc. Deutsche Grammophon's live sound is entirely translucent. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 14, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
Renée Fleming turned 60 shortly before the release of this album in 2019. Its contents, recorded in 2017 and 2010, still date from her sixth decade, but there is no question that Fleming has the kind of natural-sounding voice that is aging well and should have a few more go-rounds in the operatic realm, even as she takes up less-demanding fare on the musical stage. The recording of Mahler's Rückert-Lieder, Op. 44, made in 2010 with Christian Thielemann leading the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, is classic Fleming and is worth the price of admission. Sample the final song, the sublime Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, and you'll find the soprano's uncanny mixture of creamy and graceful over the long range fully intact. It's a marvelous performance. Seven years later, the news is not quite as good, although Fleming delivers distinctive readings of Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42; they're on the operatic side as would be expected, but the intimate quality of these songs also serves Fleming well. Only in the set of Brahms songs does Fleming show signs of strain toward the top. The lively accompaniments of pianist Hartmut Höll are a plus, and this is a release that will more than satisfy Fleming fans. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released August 19, 2002 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | EMI

It’s fitting that Renée Fleming, “the people’s diva,” would make an album of pop songs that feels more like a labor of love than a crossover attempt. Dark Hope is filled with songs and arrangements that wouldn’t appear on a typical attempt to bring a classical vocalist into the mainstream -- witness her dark, intricate take on the Mars Volta’s “With Twilight as My Guide.” It should almost go without saying that Fleming's voice is just as remarkable here as it is in her usual milieu, but the album proves time and again that she is game for just about anything. Fleming learned how to sing in the more intimate, confessional style that Dark Hope's singer/songwriter and alternative rock fare requires just for this project; combined with her interpretive gifts, she does a masterful job of remaining true to the spirit of the original songs while offering her own twists on them. Her voice dances over the wordy, syllable-heavy lyrics of Willy Mason's “Oxygen,” brings a mature moodiness to “Stepping Stone” that was lacking in Duffy's spitfire version, and remains connected to the intimacy in the Arcade Fire’s “Intervention” even as the song swells around her. Indeed, Dark Hope's swelling arrangements are as much a weakness as they are a strength: at times, it feels like the album’s producers didn’t trust that her gorgeous voice singing these songs would be enough of a draw. Quite a few tracks have busy instrumentation that detracts from Fleming's singing; others have arrangements that try too hard to be tastefully contemporary, and dilute the songs’ impact. Fleming is divinely torchy on Muse's “Endlessly,” but her trip-hop-tinged surroundings are no match for her rich vocals. Her interpretation of Band of Horses' “No One’s Gonna Love You” is let down by an arrangement that sounds like generic alt-pop -- though, on the other hand, it’s a relief that it doesn’t sound like A String Tribute to Band of Horses. Despite these problems, both of these songs are among Dark Hope's standout tracks, along with the subtly sultry electro-folk turn on Jefferson Airplane’s “Today” and the urgent yet airy reading of Death Cab for Cutie's “Soul Meets Body.” It’s just frustrating that even songs as revered as Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” -- which is virtually a standard at this point -- are burdened with anything that takes away from a voice as remarkable as Fleming's singing a melody that powerful. She deserves credit for undertaking such a bold enterprise, but unfortunately Dark Hope's execution lets down the concept. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca Music Group Ltd.