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Subject: Renee Fleming and the end of opera, the NYT article.
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 5 Apr 2017 10:41:57 -0700

text/plain (49 lines)

There is a fascinating and revealing article in the NYT today about
Fleming's approaching retirement:

The article must have pleased her, but maybe not, the writer explains that
she wasn't as big a star as Beverly Sills (completely true) but does throw
her a bone by saying she is a bigger star than Netrebko (not true!). But I
wonder if she liked being compared to June Clever?

But those things aside it was flattering and realistic and it is one of the
only genuine assessments I've seen of the fading state of opera today. The
diva herself takes a swipe at the "Ivory tower" mentality that has led to
opera becoming culturally irrelevant (and irrelevant it is today,
completely and utterly, alas).

In any case, an article in 2017 that mentions Adelina Patti (and not in
flattering terms) commands attention...

On a personal note, Renee Fleming disappointed me every time I saw her in
roles like Marguerite, Manon, Desdemona, and the others except in two
roles, the Marschallin, and as Tatania (opposite Hvorostovsky, a great
evening!). The most memorable Fleming experience for me was sitting in the
Met cafeteria and hearing the rehearsal for her Desdemona debut where she
had a moment, singing the arching plaintive music which caused everyone in
the cafeteria to stop dead in their tracks and look up, including Andrea
Velis who was sitting near us (he raised up his eyes in astonishment), it
was so purely lovely. Unfortunately, I never heard her do the same thing in
a regular Otello performance (or in anything else) and that for me sums up
the too-cautious Fleming, so much potential that was never, IMHO, quite
fulfilled. I always felt the diva was holding back a little, easing up on
the throttle when she should have opened it up, but she has had a great
career unquestionably and if she isn't the last opera star, she may well be
the last AMERICAN opera star...

James Camner

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