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Dark Hope CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 May 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B003EIK9R4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,478 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

FLEMING RENEE

BBC Review

Renée Fleming is an accomplished soprano who's sung opera for the last 30 years, and is now turning her hand to rock and pop with this eclectic album of covers. The song choices–from The Mars Volta to Leonard Cohen–are uneven yet interesting, and there's little to nitpick about her voice, but the project isn't altogether successful.

The tiresome question hanging over it is: what's this for? Of course most music doesn't have to contribute anything especially; it is what it is. Covers, however, are what something else is, and if you're treading in someone else's musical footprints then you're, um, on the back foot from the start. It must be humbling even for a performer of Fleming's standing.

Fleming's precise phrasing and sonorous expression in this uncertain new context immediately and unfortunately brings to mind operatic metallers Within Temptation. She sounds almost like Marianne Faithfull, if Marianne Faithfull could really sing.

Her voice is deeper than you expect–her take on the gentle No One's Gonna Love You by Band of Horses is transposed lower than seems necessary, sapping something from the song. The soaring high notes she allows herself throughout are pure and extraordinary, but they're rare. She seems to be going against her own voice as well as her genre.

Her version of Mad World is interesting, sparse and dark, but there are some compressed horns in there that seem to mock it–elsewhere, there is some awful keening guitar work. Sincerity isn't lacking here, but soul may be. She tries Duffy's Stepping Stone–Duffy may sing like a distressed sea bird but it's her best song, defiant in fragility. Fleming sounds like a mature, confident woman, and it doesn't convince.

She finishes with a lengthy Hallelujah–the albatross in the aviary. It's like a comment on cover versions; it's such a standard, and yet so stubbornly cultish that it resists every rehash. It's like no other song, and this version doesn't distinguish itself. This is a respectable collection and a work that embarrasses no one, but lacking in purpose and ultimately in heart. --Sarah Bee

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As a classical singer and a rock music fan as well, my head was in a spin when I first heard that my idol, the worlds greatest living and working soprano, would be making an album of rock/pop covers. So many questions arise - will it work? How will Renée use her voice? Is it worth the risk? Well, I shouldn't have worried, as Renée has got it spot on as usual. She uses her voice in a way which is perfectly suited to the music - bringing out the words and proving that a strong and solid vocal technique will always get the best results in any genre (take note Katherine Jenkins at al., this music should be sung in it's own style and not a 'classical' lilt). The arangements are great (although I think from a production point of view sometimes a little too heavily compressed on the vocal and strings), and provide the perfect mix of modern and traditional instruments to bring out the musicality of each track. And there is a welath of well written music on this disk - the songs have been selected for their knowledge of how music should be written with a solid musical understanding - I'm sure that any one approching this disk from a purely classical background will find lots to interest them. This is well written music sung as it should be - my dark hope is threefold: that Classical lovers can be brought up to date with how modern pop and rock can be enjoyed, that popular music fans are inspired by one of the best singers on the planet to explore the magic of composers from the past, and that all musicians can be provoked into thinking about the future of music as a whole.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Never heard of Renee until Radio 2 and particularly Ken Bruce started Playing Endlessly (Muse) which I thought wow what a great version !
Then last week the album was the album of the week and after I had heard her version of Arcade Fires Intervention and a fabulous version of Peter Gabriel"s In Your Eyes I was hooked !
What a voice and the power behind it obvious.
May have to listen to the opera stuff now !
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Format: Audio CD
I confess I hadn't heard of Renee Fleming before, like other reviewers, hearing her on Ken Bruce's show. But her version of 'Endlessly' gripped me first time I heard it. I listned to the rest of the album on Napster last night and had to buy it. I'm not averse to a bit of opera, so the next step is to check examples of work from Ms Fleming's day job!
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Interesting change from Renee Fleming's operatic albums and very enjoyable. Some of the songs were a bit repetitive but Renee Fleming's beautiful voice can take any song and make it special and Fleming's constant reinvention of herself in different styles makes her a most fascinating contemporary singer. The title 'Dark Hope' and the deeper voice tone reflects a slightly sombre and downbeat flavour to this album but also depth of feeling. Fleming's voice is supremely lyrical but in this album she sounds like melting dark chocolate.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with a previous reviewer that there is a metronomic feel to this however I don't think the fault lies with Renee Fleming,I think the producer David Kahne is culpable. I think Fleming performs these songs well, doesn't sound as if she's singing in a strange idiom and the songs themselves are a relatively brave selection. I think overall this is enjoyable despite some shortcomings.
The shortcomings are that these songs are set in the blandest of settings, all tastefully restrained guitar figures and syrupy synth textures. Taken in bit size chunks it is quite palatable but over the course of an album it can become sickly. Would also have been nice for the instrumentation to vary somewhat. Couldn't they have done one song with just voice and piano, or voice and guitar etc? Or made better use of tempo changes? Real strings are used in places but it still sounds like there's a sugary synth pad competing in the same frequency range.
And when we get what should be euphoric background vocals they just sound incredibly polite.

Just wish they taken some chances. You have a world class singer, brilliant material and she's straitjacketed by the arrangements. There's a factory feel to this as if every song has started from the same template. The two songs that work best are those by the Arcade Fire and the Mars Volta and these seem to form the centrepoint of the album. The version of Cohen's Hallelujah is okay and at least Renee understands the lyrics but it doesn't come anywhere near the benchmark interpretations of Jeff Buckley and John Cale.

Despite my reservations I do actually quite like this - maybe given time I'll be able to forget about my frustrations with the arrangements and just enjoy the songs and the vocal performance.
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This is a great cd, I really love. A quite different of Renee Fleming`s voice - very deep and rich. I listened to it three times straight off when I first got it. I would love more of the same style. You have to really listen to get it - background music is not the thing!
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I love both classical and popular singing,but I would never give house room to a crossover album by a classical artist. This is different; Renee Fleming has taught herself to sing in a totally different style and her voice is perfect for these songs, rich and strong, yet probably more than an octave below where she would normally be pitching. The choice of songs is inspired; I have hunted down each one that I didn't already know to find out who did the original, to find names of bands I'd never heard of - in fact the most obscure ones (Arcade Fire, The Mars Volta)are the best songs on the album. There are one or two tracks where the backing is a little bit straight - the drums on Endlessly are a bit Gloria Gaynor for instance - but generally the production is good and does not stray far from the original style. Hats off to RF - she's pulled off a great album.
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