Fleming celebrates Mozart
Here's the problem, and it's not a problem you or I would have. Renée Fleming, the gorgeously voiced opera star, loves to sing, and she grew up in a musical family, so it's been her whole life. She is in constant demand. But that means she has to travel constantly, so she misses taking kids Amelia, 13, and Sage, 10, to school and later tucking them into bed, walking her dog Rosie in Central Park, reading and sleeping and eating what's bad for her.
Performs with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra:
» Program: Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate" motet for soprano and orchestra, Strauss' "Selections from Die Liebe der Danae" and selections from Verdi's "IL Trovatore." Samuel Wong conducts.
» Time: 8 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday
» Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall.
» Tickets: $20 to $73
» Call: 792-2000
» Online: www.honolulusymphony.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
"My schedule calls, and I want to be such a homebody. I need some time off!" she said, by telephone from her apartment near Central Park.
Not this year. It's the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, and Fleming plays a key role in "In Search of Mozart," a feature-length documentary about the great composer. In fact, her first serious role in opera was in "Don Giovanni," and when she was younger and studying at State University of New York for a career as a music educator, she considered Mozart's clarity of construction an ideal teaching tool.
"We're celebrating all over the world," said Fleming, who journeyed to Salzburg in January for a birthday concert. She considers New York's Metropolitan Opera the "greatest company in America" and feels privileged to sing there. On the other hand, she's absolutely thrilled that she and her girls have access to a horse stable just outside Manhattan and they can go riding.
"I'm absolutely voracious when it comes to new experiences," she laughed. "I'm not a repeater! Doing a lot of new music -- Berg, Crumb, 'Eugene Onegin,' singing with saxophone player Wayne Shorter. I'm a huge jazz fan!"
Did we mention that, while still in school, she was almost whisked away by a big band? That she sang on the soundtrack of "Lord of the Rings"? That she loves modern art and exploring museums?
Despite all her globetrotting, somehow, Fleming had managed to skip Hawaii until this weekend. "Can you believe it?" she asked.
While here, Fleming will conduct a vocal-arts workshop for the University of Hawaii-Manoa's music department.
But it's the voice that gets her booked all over the world. No less an authority than Sir Georg Solti, who helmed Fleming's first solo recording, gushed: "Quite apart from the sheer lyrical beauty of voice, she has an innate musicianship which makes every performance a great joy."