First, I am not an opera connoseur. Whilst I do appreciate classical and opera, I do not have the knowledge of other reviewers when it comes to having this album reviewed. However, I can't help but include myself in Ms. Fleming's legion of admirers and I felt I must write something about this extraordinary album.
I already have ALL of Renee Fleming's cd's but I shall always go back to this one as her very best, a vehicle if there ever was one, no wonder, her fans just absolutely adore it. Barbra Streisand has always been my favourite singer and there never was a second one. Until now. Renee has absolutely commanded my respect. Her talent, specially her voice is a wonder to behold. it has been described as creamy, tremulouus, rich, like being enveloped in warm silk, honey-like. Listening to her is like watching Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, it is an experience of joy.
Her Mariettas Lied is the most hypnotic version I've ever heard, her voice soars and she is in absolute control, the beauty will just take your breath away. Chi Il Bel Sogno is a knockout. Goosebumps. The famous Rachmaninov Vocalise is also beautiful. My favourite amongst all is Bailero. For years, I have admired Kiri Te Kanawa's seductive version of this piece but Fleming's version is so awesome that the opening verse, "Pastre de delai l'aio, as gaiire de boun tems..." is worth the price alone of this cd. Her thick and creamy voice is the MOST beautiful soprano the art of music has ever produced.
Yes, many critics have pointed out her tendency to over-inflect and "Flemingise" arias. But this is just an exhibition of her genius as a soprano, aren't all great singers blamed for making it appear that songs were tailor-made for them? Yes she does inject her own brand of style and technique but they are so beautiful to listen to that I don't understand what the fuss are all about? (How Bel Canto was lambasted!)
I know some people who are lions guarding the celestial gates of opera that have elevated Caballe, Callas, Sutherland as goddesses and have a responsibility to be loyal, But
Renee Fleming is here and she is THE greatest among all of them.I have curiouly bought works of these women, they are good but Miss Fleming's voice is complete, powerful and perfect. Yes, perfect.
All of us her fans will make sure that Miss Fleming will continue to burn her bright flame and more of your music. Brava! Brava!