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Renee Fleming

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 18 November 2005

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the soprano Renée Fleming.
Renée Fleming is one of the greatest sopranos on the world's stages today. She has won critical acclaim for her interpretations of Mozart and Strauss and has made a series of operatic roles her own - including the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Dvorak's ill-fated water-nymph Rusalka. However, she says her route into classical music was far from straightforward. She grew up in upstate New York, the daughter of two music teachers. Although the family used to sing together, Renée says she was not a natural performer and was very anxious about appearing in public and then, while at college, her musical love was jazz rather than opera.

Her musical break-through came at the age of 29, when she was asked to stand in as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at the last minute. Since then she's appeared in all the great opera houses. As well as the standard repertoire, she is a champion of new music and Andre Previn is one of many who have written especially for her. She has won numerous accolades for her singing including two Grammies and two Classical Brit awards.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: River by Renée Fleming
Book: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
Luxury: Coffee

Music Played

8 items
  • Image for Giuseppe Verdi

    Giuseppe Verdi Tacea la notte placida (from Il trovatore)

    Soloist: Leontyne Price

    IL Travatore, RCA

  • Image for Renée Fleming

    Renée Fleming River

    Haunted Heart, Decca

  • Image for Sarah Vaughan

    Sarah Vaughan I've Got the World on a String

    How Long Has This Been Going On?, Pablo

  • Image for Richard Strauss

    Richard Strauss Im Abendrot (from Four Last Songs)

    Soloist: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Orchestra: The London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: George Szell

    Strauss:Four Last Songs, EMI

  • Image for George Crumb

    George Crumb Apparition

    Soloist: Jan DeGaetani accompanied by Gilbert Kalish

    Crumb & Ives Songs, Bridge

  • Image for Antonin Dvorak

    Antonin Dvorak O silver moon (from Rusalka)

    Soloist: Gabriela Benacková Orchestra: The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Vaclav Neumann

    Rusalka, Supraphon

  • Image for Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter

    Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter Joanna's Theme

    One Plus One, Verve

  • Image for Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata No 13 in E flat major, Op. 27/1 - 2nd movement

    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 13, 14, & 15, Deutsche Grammophon

Credits

Presenter
Sue Lawley

Broadcasts

Free downloads

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