One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Known as “the people’s diva,” she continues to grace the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, now extending her reach to include other mediums. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has begun hosting 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. In 2008, a precedent was broken when Ms. Fleming became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to headline an opening night gala.
As a musical statesman, Renée Fleming has been sought after for numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. On January 18, 2009, she performed for the televised We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President Obama. She has performed for the United States Supreme Court, HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, and celebrates the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution at the invitation of Vaclav Havel.
Renée Fleming’s 2009-10 operatic season at the Metropolitan Opera includes performances of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (October 2009; January 2010), and continues with a new production of Rossini’s Armida (April/May 2010), which is a MET premiere. She also appears at the Vienna State Opera in performances of Strauss’s Capriccio (June 2010) and at the Zurich Opera in Verdi’s La Traviata and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (June/July 2010).
Following summer performances in Ecuador and South Africa, Ms. Fleming’s 2009-10 season in the concert world commences with the New York Philharmonic’s Opening Night Gala performance of Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, welcoming new Music Director Alan Gilbert. She then appears in early October in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala, performing Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 and selected songs by Strauss, and at the end of October embarks on a European tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Further season highlights include November concerts in Madrid and Prague, with January US performances in Florida and Mississippi, as well as a public master class at The Juilliard School in New York City in October. A masterful recitalist, Ms. Fleming appears in November and December in Baden-Baden, Vienna, Vancouver, Seattle, Baltimore, Berkeley, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. In February, 2010, she will join the Boston Symphony Orchestra for performances of Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.
A two-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming’s new CD Verismo (Decca/September 2009) features a collection of rarely heard Italian arias with the Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi di Milano conducted by Marco Armiliato, and Ms. Fleming’s DVD of the complete Der Rosenkavalier (Decca/October 2009) features the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Christian Thielemann. These releases follow the critically acclaimed 2008 CD of Strauss: Four Last Songs, also conducted by Christian Thielemann. In recent years, this eleven-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. 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.
Renée Fleming’s artistry has been an inspiration to many other prominent artists, such as Chuck Close and Robert Wilson, whose portraits of her were included in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 fund-raising auction. Two portraits of Ms. Fleming were also created by Francesco Clemente, who revealed one work in Salzburg in spring 2007, with the Metropolitan Opera displaying the other in 2008. Among her numerous awards are 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 a 2003 Honorary Doctorate from The Juilliard School, 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.
In addition to her work on stage and in recordings, Renée Fleming has represented Rolex timepieces in print advertising since 2001. In 2008, she launched La Voce by Renée Fleming, a fragrance designed for her, with the proceeds benefiting the Metropolitan Opera. Master Chef Daniel Boulud has created the dessert “La Diva Renée” (1999) in her honor, and she has inspired the “Renée Fleming Iris” (2004), which has been replicated in porcelain by Boehm. Having been added to Mr. Blackwell’s best dressed list, her concert gowns have been designed by Bill Blass, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake, Oscar de la Renta, Angel Sanchez and Vivienne Westwood. In addition to serving as the face of opera for two public transit campaigns in New York and London, Ms. Fleming has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, The View, Prairie Home Companion as “Renata Flambé,” and Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…, among numerous other media outlets.
Ms. 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.