Renée Fleming: “I wish I were more of a diva”
Suzy Klein talks to soprano Renee Fleming who is currently performing the title role in Handel’s Rodelinda at the Met and can be heard singing Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the LPO in Radio 3 Live In Concert from the Royal Festival Hall this Wednesday. She is famed for her limpid voice, beautiful diction and stagecraft. But more than that, she has crossed over from the operatic stage, forging a wider kind of stardom as America’s favourite soprano - even appearing on the David Letterman show! She sang at President Obama’s inauguration and was the voice of America's commemoration of 9/11 at Ground Zero. In our exclusive interview Fleming talks about her determination and single-mindedness, and how singing for her is a ‘personal form of validation’. She speaks frankly about coping with the pressure of performance and how she wishes she were ‘more of a diva’.More information: Renée Fleming
Photo: Renée Fleming © Jonathan Tichler
The 21st Century Oboe
Finding that the traditional oboe struggles to scale the Herculean heights required by contemporary composers, oboist Christopher Redgate has set out to design a new instrument. His 21st century oboe is historically rooted and clearly related to its traditional cousin, but it allows for a whole new palette of technical and tonal possibilities. He gives Suzy a guided tour of the new Redgate-Howarth oboe along with Janey Miller (an oboist committed to developing the instrument’s repertoire) and composer Paul Archbold, who tells how this new instrument expands his musical horizons.More information on the 21st Century Oboe
Photo: Christopher Redgate © Royal Academy of Music.
Stravinsky Ballets by Charles M. Joseph
One man who never shied away from the glistening, knife-sharp edge of ‘the new’ was Igor Stravinsky. His eleven ballets are one of the major musical achievements of the last century, a single imposing body of work that brought into its orbit some of the key cultural figures of the last hundred years, including Nijinsky and Diaghilev, Picasso, Cocteau and Balanchine. The American academic Charles M. Joseph has chosen to focus his third Stravinsky book on those ballets. Leading choreographer and Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet David Bintley and Stravinsky scholar Stephen Walsh join Suzy to give their verdict.More information: Stravinsky Ballets by Charles M. Joseph
Photo: Vaslav Nijinsky as Petrouchka, 1916. Photograph by Mishkin, New York. Houghton Library, Harvard University
The Pump Room Orchestra, Bath
The Pump Room Orchestra Bath are celebrating 300 years of providing live music, along with the promise of health-restoring waters. If tea and scones are more your thing than that famed reviving, sulphurous drink fear not: there’s a lot of clinking teacups as well as music at the Pump Rooms daily performances, as you’ll hear when Suzy heads down to talk to the authors of a new book.More information:The Pump Room Orchestra Bath
Photo: The Pump Room Trio today: co-violinists Lorna Osbon and Robert Hyman, pianist Derek Stuart-Clark and cellis Keith Tempest. Photo courtesy of the Roman Baths, Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The 21st Century Oboe
Christopher Redgate with oboist Janey Miller and composer Paul Archbold.