Renee Fleming in Concert

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am

Renee Fleming in Concert

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

Reviewed: Mar 31

Renee Fleming is a singer who can communicate at a very high level with an audience, and share her obvious passion and love for singing. She's the epitome of all the good things a so-called diva can be. She's a gracious, prepared, skilled musician with a strong voice and quick mind.

In two concerts during the weekend, Fleming (below) sang a Richard Strauss programme (with an encore of Somewhere Over the Rainbow) that played to her vocal and linguistic skills.

The lyric soprano studied extensively in Germany and speaks fluent German. This language skill was on display as she interpreted Strauss' Four Last Songs and three of his better known compositions: Zueignung, Morgen! and Caecilie. The Four Last Songs were Strauss' final works before his death and showed a tremendous amount of depth and loving attention to the word and vocal line.

The orchestral accompaniment, under David Atherton, was a beautiful progression of style and ended poignantly with At Sunset, a song that questions if death is near.

Fleming's use of vocal artistry, shadings, inflections of words and passion were obvious and from the heart. Her encore was sung with a new orchestral arrangement in a light jazz style. Fleming has studied jazz and she showed great freedom and tastefulness in the genre, and the audience was enchanted.

Multiple curtain calls attested to the fact that she could have continued to sing and everyone would have stayed, enraptured, by a true diva.