Grammy Award winning soprano Renée Fleming will conduct a master class with cast members of the Dunster House Opera Society production of Jules Massenet’s “Cinderella,” and answer questions from the audience. Admission is free, tickets required; ticket distribution for Harvard affiliates (2 per person, with valid ID) beginning Tuesday, January 22; for the public (2 per person) beginning Thursday, January 24. Harvard Box Office 617.496.2222 (phone and online ticket orders subject to service fees).
One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Known as “the people’s diva” and named 2012 Singer of the Year by the German Echo awards, she continues to grace the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other musical forms and media. Over the past few seasons, Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” series for movie theaters and television, and “Live From Lincoln Center” on PBS.
As a musical statesman, Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. In January 2009, Fleming was featured in the televised “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” concert for President Obama. In 2012, in an historic first, Fleming sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Fleming has also performed for the United States Supreme Court and, in November 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic’s “Velvet Revolution” at the invitation of Václav Havel. An additional distinction was bestowed in 2008 when, breaking a precedent, she became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.
In 2012, Renée Fleming added a new role to her repertoire, Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos,” at Baden-Baden in a new production by Philippe Arlaud, conducted by Christian Thielemann. She appeared in the title role of “Arabella” in a new production at the Paris Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan. Her Marschallin in “Der Rosenkavalier,” under the baton of Constantin Trinks, was seen at the Munich Opernfestspiele. Fleming began the 2012-13 season as Desdemona in “Otello” at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, and broadcast around the world via the MET Opera “Live in HD.”
This year will find her at Carnegie Hall and Lyric Opera of Chicago in André Previn’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” playing Blanche DuBois, a role she created in the world premiere. In June of 2013, she returns to Vienna as the Countess in Strauss's “Cappriccio,” conducted by Christoph Eschenbach .
Fleming’s busy concert calendar has recently included galas at the San Diego Opera, Providence Performing Arts Center, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as well as appearances with the Seattle, Vancouver, Oregon, Colorado, San Antonio, Baltimore, and Cincinnati Symphony orchestras and the Santiago Philharmonic. She began the 2012-13 season singing for the inaugural concerts of Christian Thielemann as principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and Yannick Nézet-Séguin as Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Her 2012-13 recital schedule includes Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Quito, Bogota, Guayaquil, Paris, Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Taipei. A winter 2013 duo recital tour with Fleming’s friend, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, includes San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Desert, Chicago, New York and Boston, the latter engagement presented by the Celebrity Series of Bostonon February 3 at Symphony Hall.
A three-time Grammy winner, Fleming won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for “Verismo” (Decca/September 2009), a CD featuring a collection of rarely heard Italian arias. “Poèmes,” her recent collection of 20th-Century French music, has been nominated for a 2013 Grammy award for Best Classical Vocal Solo. In June 2010, Decca and Mercury records released the CD “Dark Hope,” which features Fleming covering songs by indie-rock and pop artists. Recent DVD releases include Handel’s “Rodelinda,” Massenet’s “Thaïs” and Rossini’s “Armida,” all three in the Metropolitan Opera “Live in HD” series, and Verdi’s “Traviata,” filmed at London’s Royal Opera House. Fleming's 2010 DVD “Renée Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg” follows Fleming and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Russia, where they explore and perform in some of St. Petersburg's most historic locations.
In recent years, this fourteen-time Grammy nominated artist has recorded everything from Strauss’s complete “Daphne” to the jazz album “Haunted Heart” to the movie soundtrack of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” She recorded Alexandre Desplat's theme song, “Still Dream” for the soundtrack of the Dreamworks Animation feature, “Rise of the Guardians,” a major Thanksgiving 2012 release. Her recording honors range from the 2009 Echo Award for Strauss’s “Four Last Songs” to the “Prix Maria Callas Orphée d’Or” by the Académie du Disque Lyric for TDK’s DVD production of “Capriccio.” In February 2012, Fleming received the Victoire d’Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique.
Fleming is a champion of new music and has performed works by a wide range of contemporary composers, including recent compositions by Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, André Previn, and Wayne Shorter. Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2011); Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University (2012), the Eastman School of Music (2011) and The Juilliard School (2003), where she was also commencement speaker.
An advocate for literacy, Renée Fleming has been featured in promotional campaigns for the Association of American Publishers (“Get Caught Reading”), and the Magazine Publishers of America’s READ poster campaign for the American Library Association. She was honored by The New York Public Library as a “Library Lion.” Her book, “The Inner Voice,” was published by Viking Penguin in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year. An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is also published in France by Fayard Editions, in the United Kingdom by Virgin Books, by Henschel Verlag in Germany, Shunjusha in Japan, and by Fantom Press in Russia.
Renée Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Advisory Board of the White Nights Foundation of America. In 2010, she was named the first ever Creative Consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is currently curating the creation of a world-premiere opera based on the bestseller “Bel Canto” for Lyric Opera's 2015-2016 season.