I’m Renée Fleming – my latest album Guilty Pleasures was recently released on September 17 (http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Pleasures-Renee-Fleming/dp/B00DM2Q9I0) and this weekend I’ll be hosting the first ever American Voices festival at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. You can learn more about it at: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/festivals/13-14/voices/

Ask me about performing around the world, my new album, the American Voices Festival, or the life of an opera star - or anything!

Website: http://reneefleming.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/reneesmusings Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ren%C3%A9e-Fleming/102646583109298

PROOF: https://twitter.com/reneesmusings/status/402880731807891456 & https://twitter.com/reneesmusings/status/402964594236215296 & https://twitter.com/reneesmusings/status/403193176761987072

Unfortunately, I have to go to the next appointment, but thanks so much for taking the time to ask questions - and intelligent questions at that.... wishing you young singers continued success and growth...and those of you who love vocal music - yes!! If you're in the DC area, I think there may be tickets left for the master sessions and symposia - come and join us! Renee

Comments: 229 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

CallieMoon16 karma


It's such an honor to talk to you! I'm a huge fan! :)

I'm the student blogger for LA Opera's Education and Community Engagement Department, and the leader of LA Opera's high school opera program Opera 90012. On behalf of all the participants, I'd like to ask you one question: How does opera relate to and influence today's teens, and in turn, how do you see today's teens shaping and changing opera?

Thank you so much!

ReneeFleming13 karma

Are you all coming to see Streetcar Named Desire in May?? I want to meet you! and teens respond to the drama and glamour of this art form - talk about meltdowns! funny, my daughters are more conservative than I am in their taste - I liked The Nose, and they like more classic works - good discussion to have....

jpschus12 karma

Hi Ms Fleming! I actually met you a few weeks ago in an Einstein Brothers in Evanston, IL. You were so nice to talk to my friend and me.

I was wondering if you had any advice for young (undergraduate) singers about how to navigate one's training and the professional world one might soon enter.

Thanks so much!

ReneeFleming6 karma

hanging around in Evanston for a few days - and fun to meet several students who were working around town... the toughest is the between education and pre-career period - I'm a bit too far away from this stage, so I'm not sure if one has to be in a coastal town at this point to get started - mainly New York - frankly, with the power of the internet, it might not be that necessary anymore... things are changing quickly with management opportunities, so talk to each other and use the various tools - musical america, classical singer etc..

sopranokelleyhollis11 karma

Hello Ms. Fleming. I'm a soprano at the young artist level. What can you tell me that you wish someone had told you when you were 25?


ReneeFleming12 karma

to take more control of my destiny - and stop waiting for someone else to fix it - I'm doing that now, but it took a long time for me to embrace the decision making process....

mike100099 karma

Before I heard "Dark Hope," I never really thought about you singing other styles of music. Being an alternative and pop music fan, I was blown away by your interpretations of those songs. What's the most challenging style of music for you? Is there anything from which you'd shy away? And, on the flip side, is there anything you haven't done that you'd love to try? Thanks for doing this. It's a real treat.

ReneeFleming6 karma

so happy to see this - it's something that I expected would have a negative response, but I think performers now are getting away from the straight jacketed limitations of genre, and wanting to stretch more - sometimes it works, and sometimes not - however, there's no substitute for focusing fully on the thing you want to be best at first - there just aren't enough hours in the day...

thtenor8 karma

Good morning Ms. Fleming! I run the Met Opera Shop - we're all huge fans of your over here; so glad to see you're doing this!

What would you view as your greatest artistic triumph to date, and how has that shaped who you are as an artist today?

Thank you!!

ReneeFleming18 karma

great shop!!! see you for Rusalka!! touchstones have been the first time I sang Desdemona at the Met, Cosi with Solti, and frankly after that, it's all a blurrrrrrrrrrrrrr

emilyabrams7 karma

I am a young singer working on my undergrad and you are one of my biggest role models. My college's music department doesn't present many performance opportunities and when they do, casting isn't always as fair as it should be leaving upperclassmen like myself without a role. How would you suggest I go about improving the quality of my performances when I am not actively working on a show?

ReneeFleming9 karma

are you taking acting classes? dance and movement? scenes? are there student run performance opportunities? or can you just make a scenes presentation for friends? you're right - and it's important to create these opportunities if you can

zoestopper7 karma

Hello! Many useless internet points for being so hip and doing this. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life on the opera stage but I also would like a family. How did you balance both lives?

ReneeFleming10 karma

tough call - the travelling that comes with an opera career is relatively inescapable - I traveled with my daughters until they were in elementary school, and then I was able to stay home a bit more - but we all sacrificed for my career, and that's not necessarily a fair thing to ask of your child...

ReneeFleming10 karma

that said - my girls have turned out great, and they both like opera!

operaswag6 karma

Are there things that the opera industry could be doing better in terms of adapting to the future and reaching out and developing younger audiences?

ReneeFleming8 karma

absolutely - and this is something I'm working on - part of it is exposure - just giving opera and classical music a chance - it's not going to be for everyone, but how will people know they like it if they don't get in the door... our Second City Guide to the Opera helped a lot - and there are more initiatives like this that can break down these barriers...

srt91406 karma

Hi Renee! I am a young mezzo currently applying for grad school and I’m thrilled that you are doing this AMA! How did you keep yourself motivated at the transitional points of your career? What are the most important things to remember when competitions, auditions, and applications seem endless?

ReneeFleming18 karma

take a piece of paper, and dream.... imagine your career if it was what you wanted, in ten years, twenty.... and then imagine the steps you will have to take to get there - are you making yourself special in terms of repertoire, in terms even more importantly, of personality when you enter an audition... and your image - is it together? it's a very competitive world right now

sopranokelleyhollis6 karma

Hi Ms. Fleming! Since you started working closely with Lyric Opera Chicago, I have to ask, where do you stand on the NY pizza vs. Chicago pizza debate?

ReneeFleming9 karma

hmm pizza isn't something I allow myself to indulge in - but if I did, I'd probably prefer deep dish - CHICAGO! only because anything with crust makes me enormously happy....

LadyTaty5 karma

Hi Ms. Fleming, I am a huge fan of your artistry and work. One of my many questions I can ask you is, do you find it easier to sing roles that are close to your own personality, or roles that are far away?

ReneeFleming11 karma

It can be easier to sing something closer to my own personality, but it's definitely more fun to play something outrageous - kind of like playing dress up when you're a kid! use your imagination - capital I

fa535 karma

Your voice is amazing.

What have you done to protect it all these years?

ReneeFleming15 karma

I try to live moderately, get enough sleep, eat and drink reasonably... and watch caffeine intake (especially hard for me) - but the most important thing is choosing repertoire wisely - not too heavy, and the appropriate tessitura - not too high or low in terms of mean pitch... keep singing and stay in vocal shape - keep the voice moving - it's not easy.....

thtenor5 karma

Any hints as to what your next CD will be??

ReneeFleming7 karma

holiday! Christmas! and fun!!

smplmu5 karma

Huge fan here. What do you do on non-performance days away from home?

ReneeFleming8 karma

I'm a culture junkie; museums, theater in London, and other musical performances.... plus great walking - I'm a tourist when I have the time in general, but I also use time away from home to catch up on work and learning and researching music...

fiordeluge5 karma

What do you hope your legacy as a singer and an arts advocate will ultimately be?

ReneeFleming6 karma

want to create a more open template for us all - repertoire wise, and in terms of collaborators... what's an american singer compared with the European historic model?

lady-unicorn5 karma

Hi, Ms. Fleming! As I am a soprano under 20 years old, my teacher likes to remind me of the importance of patience and that singing is not a race one can win. What advice would you give to a young singer? What did you struggle with as a young singer? Did you ever feel limited by your age?

ReneeFleming3 karma

absolutely - you have LOTS of time - better that you get started when you're ready... otherwise, I've seen so many crash and burn because they're not fully cooked before they get on stage.... I started in my late 20's and that was perfect for me - earlier, and I would have run into vocal trouble....

khumphri5 karma

Hi Renée, I'm the Canadian mezzo (studying in Vienna) you met a few weeks ago backstage with Pavel (from Warsaw) after Der Rosenkavalier at the Staatsoper. Thank you for signing my poster and being so personable!
You're constantly travelling the world - how do you stay healthy despite the constant air travel and time zone changes? Do you have any sleep / supplement routines? Thank you for all you do! Kathryn

ReneeFleming5 karma

I don't have a lot of trouble sleeping fortunately - pavlov's dog on the plane - as soon as the engine starts, I'm out.... but the dryness is tough - and I worry about sitting next to someone with a sneezing cold... mostly, I set my mind at 'you can't get sick' and that seems to work...

thatshitischurchyo5 karma

Thanks for the AMA! I first discovered you when I heard your work with Howard Shore in The Lord of the Rings score, and I was blown away ever since.

What were your thoughts and feelings when initially approached with the opportunity to collaborate with Howard in that soundtrack, and what effects have those performances had on you since?

ReneeFleming4 karma

the neatest thing was recording in New York in a studio while Howard was in London - we communicated by video, and he critiqued and made requests on what he was hearing through the feed - very high tech.... even better with Stephen Spielberg and John Williams for Tin-Tin - because they also had a video feed, but there were electrodes on my face for the character that fed my singing features into their computer.....

sugarmezzo4 karma

Hi Renee!! Can you talk a little about the artist/manager relationship and any advice for making or keeping it fruitful and effective?

ReneeFleming7 karma

artist/manager - well, they're spread very thin, so probably best to imagine that you're managing yourself - make your own wish list, plan, and even audition list; and do as much as you can on your own... they are most valuable as negotiator, and back up....

mattyslipp4 karma


ReneeFleming6 karma

funny - the not making it idea - it's completely personal - some folks have terrific careers as comprimario singers, or regional careers in houses in Europe that allow them to have great personal lives - that's making it too...and I've also known extremely successful opera stars who were miserable - so for me 'making it' is whatever gives your life balance and happiness....

lady-unicorn4 karma

If you could be a male opera singer for a day, what role would you sing and why?

ReneeFleming3 karma

How about Nessun Dorma - would be great to be able to sing that classic hit!

ThatAssholeMrWhite4 karma

Hi Renee. I'm a musician in post-grad/early-professional purgatory. Could share some advice or an anecdote that might help when times get tough and my motivation starts to wane? Thanks!

ReneeFleming6 karma

I almost gave up in this period - so hard..... honestly, I would give it a period of time that you'll give it your all - say, until you're 30 or 32 max, and then move on.... chalk it up to experience, and use everything you've learned in another or a related field.... this advice is for everyone - and anyone who is struggling - I was close...

sopranokelleyhollis4 karma

Hi there! Who are some of your favorite living American classical composers?

ReneeFleming3 karma

I have a spreadsheet of about 120 composers, and that's only the tip of the iceberg - there are so many worthy and cultivated composers out there - wish there was as much interest from the public in hearing new things - I'm currently excited about Jimmy Lopez and Bel Canto - we are producing his first opera in Chicago, and it's exciting indeed!

shehasapoint4 karma

Hey, Renee. I’m a big fan of yours. I have a few questions based on the premise of my attending a very vocally biased school.

You are known for the uniqueness of your tone and style, what are some of the things that helped you build/affirm your own sound?

Can/Should university students have an opinion on music (in general) and/or the music they are interpreting? Artistry?

Since the time you were in school, have you seen any changes in the US schools of vocal music?

Can you see the difference in students who were taught “traditionally” versus those who were taught in a modern way?

Sorry if any of these questions are confusing or totally off-base. I’ve just wanted to ask these questions to an obvious expert for a long time. Thanks for your time and for your lovely talent!

ReneeFleming10 karma

You should and must have an opinion about music - call it your taste! Taste can be developed at any time - I discovered that I loved contemporary music when I was a student; obsessed with Stravinsky and George Crumb. Same with artistry and interpretation, however, your job as a student is to understand and absorb as much information from your experienced professors, coaches and teachers as you can - no sense in disagreeing with them, although offering your own opinion can give an opportunity for discussion. They're trying to help - and there's plenty of time for you ultimately to absorb what you're learning and send it back out through the prism of your own thoughts, opinions and experience..... hope that's helpful?

kiwi_sop4 karma

Hi Renée. Crises of confidence. We all have them! How did you deal with them when you were starting out?

ReneeFleming10 karma

I had full blown stage fright - more than once.... so tough - I had therapy, read books about it, and generally tried to be more positive with myself - and far more PREPARED - the secret for me was making sure the mental preparation equaled the vocal preparation.... and a general crisis of confidence can also be the thing that drives us to improve - not necessarily a bad thing...

wymigana4 karma

Hi Renée! :) If you hadn't been artictically gifted, what path of career would you have chosen? And I have one more question. :D Which one of your gowns is your favourite? :)


ReneeFleming5 karma

I have something like 17 gowns from gianfranco Ferre - and some of them are still favorites, because they were each so individual and made for me - recently Vivienne Westwood has made some extraordinary gowns for me - with the lightest and most powerful corsets built in.... costumes!

flemingfan4 karma

How do you select the gowns you choose to wear for recital and concert performances? Additionally about long do you keep each gown in rotation and what happens to them once you stop performing in them?

ReneeFleming9 karma

I wear some gowns so often, I expect to set them up in their own apartment afterwards - they develop a life and personality all their own! just kidding.... they have to withstand copious touring - we have to keep lists, because a telecast in the smallest country ends up on you tube now, and I can't wear things too often that will be seen.... I hang on to the greatest ones, and donate the rest to young singers anonymously...

Vratix4 karma

What are your favorite and least favorite languages to sing?

ReneeFleming7 karma

LOVE English - the least barrier, and french - because it makes me sing so well....adore German because it's the foreign language I speak best..... toughest so far has been Portuguese - just hard for me to wrap my head around the nasal diphthongs..

am23704 karma

Hey Renee! I had no idea what opera music could be like until I heard your beautiful work with Howard Shore on the Lord of the Rings soundtracks... just wanted to say thanks for opening up one more mind to the possibilities of musical genre!

ReneeFleming10 karma

Lord of the Rings put me on the map with lots of folks - I'm grateful, but it was hard to sing with absolutely no vibrato - Howard was very patient!

srt91404 karma

In your experience and opinion, what is the best way to keep opera alive and relevant for both the active listener and the complete novice?

ReneeFleming11 karma

absolutely - the creation of new and relevant works that speak to us today - a direct quote from Strauss's Capriccio, but it still holds true.... most companies are trying by presenting the war horse rep in interesting productions, and that can help - but wouldn't it be interesting if Regina Spektor wrote an opera? if we married prose, theater and the visual arts, etc....?

SuzeMax4 karma

First - we love your work, and we know your many gifts will continue to inspire! Could you describe the attributes of a great leading tenor or baritone you've enjoyed working with? And, we know of your friendship w/Susan Graham; who are other sopranos or mezzos you enjoy working with?

ReneeFleming5 karma

currently, I'm a huge fan of the art of Christian Gerhaher - amazing recitalist and artist.... Jonas Kaufman is rather unbeatable, but I love Josef Calleja's voice too - Michael Fabiano is on the rise - there are lots of terrific male singers - these are off the top of my head...

LionsEatChrist4 karma

How can I join you on stage?

ReneeFleming7 karma

practice practice practice......

Rochey934 karma

What are the biggest pitfalls to be avoided on the way to true operatic success?

ReneeFleming5 karma

ill preparation, over singing, overworking, the wrong choice of repertoire - and let's talk about lifestyle - how about just not enjoying where you are!

Nickg10204 karma

Ms. Fleming, My question to you is: Are there any roles that you have not done that you want to do? or Are there any roles you wish you could do but you cannot because of your voice type (Tosca, Madama Butterfly etc.)? Thank you for your time, Nick

ReneeFleming8 karma

yes!! I so wish I could have sung the bread and butter italian rep - Tosca, Butterfly - for sure... Norma! the heavies....how about Salome? next life perhaps?

Rochey934 karma

What should we opera students be doing as part of our preparation that we currently aren't doing?

ReneeFleming5 karma

we'll discuss this at the American Voices festival this weekend - on Friday, I'm speaking with Edee Bers of Juilliard, Matthew Horner, head of IMG vocal department, and Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of chicago - tune in - I'm interested to hear how they answer this question myself!

rickfinkel3 karma

Which Soprano were you? What was it like working with James Gandolfini? Funniest thing that happened on set?

ReneeFleming11 karma

wrong soprano - but we in opera tend to get bumped off in like form! there's a reason David Chase didn't call it - 'The Baritones'...

ghost_of_a_fly3 karma

Hi from Crane!

ReneeFleming5 karma

is it cold yet???

operaftw3 karma

The opera fandom has officially dubbed you and Susan Graham duo as "The Grahming." What is it like working with a singer you've known for so long?

ReneeFleming4 karma

how about Flemam - ? actually, Susan and Barbara Bonney referred to themselves on our Strauss album as the Flemettes... I adore Susan - she is brilliant, funny, and a great artist - our last Rosenkavalier together is an unforgettable experience for me....

ewkewk3 karma

What was your working relationship like with Michael Haas?

ReneeFleming5 karma

Michael is one of the most cultivated friends I have - his new book on 'forbidden music' the jewish composers whose music was banned, is greatly inspiring to me... we worked together, because he produced my cds early on in my career -

kr5611a3 karma

Hello Renee! I'm a huge fan, and had the privilege of singing with your sister this summer which was incredible. I studied opera in college but also have a love for musical theatre. I know you have also done a lot of work with jazz as well as opera so, what suggestions do you have for someone who is pursuing a career as as a crossover artist?

ReneeFleming2 karma

so glad you sang with Rachelle - such a rich voice! coming from parents who both taught high school vocal music, we have eclectic tastes and experience... so crossover is definitely accepted now and in fact, I think Bocelli and Josh Groban are recording industry top sellers....

jordanconductor3 karma

Hi Renée, I'm a loyal fan. When working with conductors, how do you find the delicious balance of musical decision-making and collaboration has changed over the course of your career? For instance, with your superb musical knowledge and experience across such a vast swath of repertoire, what can a conductor possibly bring to the table that you haven't already thought of at this point, save for some new work or a work that is new to you? And how do you work out those interperative differences now versus in the past? Of course, this must vary greatly by conductor, both in terms of personality and in terms of experience. That said, what has been the general course throughout your career? How has that interplay evolved over time? What happens when you simply and honestly disagree about a tempo or how to structure a portion of accompagnato?

ReneeFleming5 karma

great question - I try to stay completely open minded - it's boring to sing something the same way every time, so I want new ideas. On that note, I've found that most great conductors show what they want, and don't typically want to discuss it much...we're all jetsetting around the world - and we do best in a rehearsal situation where things progress almost by osmosis - being sensitive to one another....

goldenagemgmt3 karma

Hey Renee! Will you ever consider recording a follow-up to your brilliant record with Bill Frisell & Fred Hersch, "Haunted Heart"??

ReneeFleming3 karma

So happy you enjoyed this!!! I'd love to follow it up with more offerings of recital discs that combine traditional song literature with more contemporary items, and I'd love to get back to my jazz roots eventually too...

operaswag2 karma

Could you give us some more info for streaming for the Festival this weekend? Will all of the sessions be streamed? Will they be archived for future viewing? Who else will be on the panels?

ReneeFleming3 karma

they will definitely be archived for future = in total.... for the panelists, because there are too many to list, definitely go to the micro-site we've created: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/festivals/13-14/voices/ and the announcement tomorrow will say more about what will be available in the future....

ewkewk2 karma

Tell me about your feelings about Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music

ReneeFleming4 karma

Korngold - lush, romantic, easily identifiable, and well, sexy..... wish I could sing the operas - they're too heavily scored, but I love singing arias anyway.

abuelaj2 karma

Hi, Renee -- can you talk a bit about the American Voices Festival...will you be singing or hosting or both? Thanks!

ReneeFleming1 karma

both! singing, hosting, and in heaven to be among so many gifted singers, exploring something we're all obviously completely passionate about!!
tune in - because there's a press release tomorrow that will allow you all to check it out too....

Nickg10202 karma

Renée, do you think you are ever going to do a tour of just the Dark Hope album? I really love it! Nick

ReneeFleming3 karma

well, I've had some of the tracks orchestrated so that I can incorporate them into classical concerts, but I might attempt to expand my repertoire in this area - I just noticed this morning that four of my top selling amazon tracks are from Dark Hope - that was a real surprise!

hemingways_flask2 karma

Hi! I'm a tenor who is studying vocal performance for my undergrad degree. I have a few questions for you. 1. What is your favorite role to sing? 2. What advice do you have for a young singer trying to grow as an artist? 3. What advice do you have for a singer trying to really market themself in this line of work?

ReneeFleming4 karma

I have narrowed it down to around ten roles - I'm not much of a specialist, because I'm too musically curious, but certainly Strauss is probably at the center of the discussion... young singer growing as an artist - YOU TUBE!! Listen and learn - watch videos of other singers; both from now and historically - and marketing is hard these days - creating your own website with social media, and making sure that you're auditioning for everything you can, but only once you're really ready with the right rep, image and presentation....

rororosieboats2 karma

Renee- Thank you so much for doing an AMA! It was your rendition of Vissi D'arte that got me into opera in the first place, and my life has been changed for the better because of it.

I wanted to ask you, what has been the most exciting experience of the last five years? So much has happened and I'm curious to see what you've enjoyed the most :)

ReneeFleming5 karma

I've rather loved the experiences that have taken me to exotic places, or into palaces and with folks who have achieved in other fields = the Nobel prize, the olympics, Buckingham Palace.... it gets me out of the vocal arena which is frankly, the most difficult, and into having experiences myself that are rich.... backstage with Grace Jones - stellar!

operalover842 karma

As a singer myself, I've always wondered -- how do you (and opera singers in general) deal with unexpected mucus/dust/tickle in throat or having to cough while performing? I've never once seen or heard an opera singer clear their throats on stage or stop in the middle of a phrase to clear their cords. Is this just a well cultivated skill not to do this on stage?

ReneeFleming6 karma

well - we all do it - it happens....I've had to turn around and cough loudly in very exposed moments, and we've seen colleagues with tears running down their cheeks from trying not to - or (laughing).... however, a good thing is just to blow air through loudly - an intense H - fortunately, Mimi and Violetta let you cough anyway.... the worst for me is having to cough after my character is dead....

Loindsey2 karma

Renée, oh my gosh, I'm a huge fan! Among my circle of singer friends, you are simply referred to as "Nay-nay."

1.) I re-read your book, The Inner Voice, every few years. As I progress in my own development, I get something new out of it every time! Do you have any plans to write another?

2.) Do you have an opinion on how Young Artist Programs handle the application and audition process? Currently most require a non-refundable application fee, yet the majority of applicants are denied an audition. Applying for multiple auditions adds up for a young singer who makes no money!

3.) A close friend of mine met you several years ago at a Pappadeaux in Ft. Worth, TX. You autographed a napkin for her, which she has framed next to an autographed Richard Strauss score. Assuming you've eaten there more than once, what is your go-to order?


ReneeFleming3 karma

so cute - Nay-Nay - my childhood nickname... I would love to write another book - the chapters are brewing.... maintenance of a career, the extraordinary entree I've had into the rest of the world, and the changing business... but now that I've written one, I know too much about how truly time consuming it is.... no idea really about the application process for young artist programs - how much do they ask for the fee? can't remember - is Pappadeaux mexican food? it's been a while....

maginleym2 karma

When you sing anything in French I am in heaven. Big fan. My son enjoys jazz, classical and some opera. but I am concerned that as a young composer he is focused on rap and hip-hop as an art form. Any thoughts in this area? I ask because I saw your performance with the late Lou Reed and I'm concerned that my son seems close-minded, and missing the richness of developing his talents to their fullest. He used to transcribe "Rite of Spring" but now he is into J Dilla. When did I get old?

ReneeFleming5 karma

he's exploring music in general - and the fact that he has the background with classical and especially 20th century classical will inform what he does - ask him to perhaps check out someone like Mason Bates - or Nico Muhly - these are young composers who combine both worlds well

fattyboyblue2 karma

Hi Ms. Fleming,

As a young singer, how did you cope with feelings of doubt? When did you know everything would be alright? How do you stay sane in your everyday life?

Ps- did you ever sing Lucia? The video of you, Pavoratti, Plishka, and Zajick in '91 is one of my favorite performances of the sextet ever.

ReneeFleming4 karma

oh my - I forgot that I sang the sextet from Lucia - loved it! wish I could have sung the role, but the expectation for interpolated high notes in the final scene just wasn't a reasonable option for me - and doubt is in everything I do - it drives me, and makes me work like crazy - just accept it and tell yourself that despite your concern, you will and can do your best in the performance

AGoodMan3242 karma

Top five movies??

ReneeFleming5 karma

these aren't top five, because I don't keep track, but these have stayed with me: Sophie's Choice, The English Patient, Out of Africa - the scores make a huge difference to me.... Far from Heaven

operalover842 karma

Any plans to teach voice privately at some point soon? Or maybe once you've retired from full time performing...?

ReneeFleming3 karma

not yet.... not sure what I'll want to do - I'm loving my work in Chicago as the Creative Consultant.... perhaps more of that, but who knows!

LadyLuco2 karma

Hi renée! Thanks so much for doing this! I am an aspiring opera singer studying at Birmingham conservatoire, UK. I recently suffered from mild vocal problems and had to take a year out of studies and am now working harder than ever to get my vocal stamina back etc. Just sometimes it feels so darn useless and that I will never make it in the opera world.
I was wondering (and trying not to be too morbid), did you ever think you were not going to suceed? What kept you pushing on? And how would you encourage future generations of so singers to continue following their dream, despite it being such a difficult career to get into? Thanks so much again!

ReneeFleming3 karma

there are lots of singers who have to take time off to recover from something vocal - you can do it.... just be smart about coming back, and listen to your body.... I've had a crisis every so often, and find that the best thing is to stop completely and figure it out before it gets the best of you - folks who continue on and try and ignore it usually come to public grief... great that you're young - and resilient!

RaelynnBaron1 karma


ReneeFleming1 karma

so glad you'll see Rusalka....! I often saw when I was starting out that for whatever reason, the singers who one first prize, or who were the conservatory stars had a more difficult time getting started than those who were the underdogs - so as long as you have an instrument, and are improving, you have a chance....

apples-are-rubbish1 karma

I cracked up at your Top Ten on Letterman!

Is life as an opera star as dramatic as the roles you play on stage?

PS Your Strauss is amazing

ReneeFleming3 karma

the top ten list was a blast - imagine Paul Shaffer singing all of those excerpts for me in the soprano keys - memorable right there!
life as an opera star - great travel opportunities - for sure!
love that Strauss too!

jenniferssmith1 karma

Love you madly! What exactly now is your role in Bel Canto taking life as an opera? And would you go on dancing with the stars? Aloha nui loa!

ReneeFleming1 karma

I'm the curator of Bel Canto - which is kind of like the Mother Hen.... adoring watching the piece take shape, and will celebrate this popular book from my friend, Ann Patchett coming to fruition in music... dancing with the stars - as a singer - absolutely! as a dancer.... oh god, ten years of dancing lessons as a child have barely qualified me to walk across the stage without tripping