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Renee Fleming: The New York Times was untrue and unfair

July 12, 2018 by norman lebrecht

20 comments.


The diva tells Bloomberg that reports of her impending retirement in a local newspaper were both untrue and unfair.

Perhaps she should be blaming her PR? The interview looked like an oversell.


Comments (20)

  1. Vincent D’Mello says:

    The failing New York Times reporting Fake News. Nothing new or surprising.

    1. Max Grimm says:

      Without “fake news” the United States would probably not have any news at all….it’s mostly just opinion pieces, made up to look like and marketed as actual “news” and abundantly flavored to correspond with the viewers/readers respective political palettes.
      As for ‘Renée Fleming’ and ‘retirement’, I wouldn’t expect accurate reporting from anyone. Mrs. Fleming or her PR team have sown so many conflicting statements and so much disinformation, it makes many a government’s psychological operations department blush with envy.

      1. Max Grimm says:

        *That should read ….marketed as factual “news”…

      2. Sue says:

        Precisely. It’s called CONFIRMATION BIAS and it’s one of the reasons the mainstream media is in the death throes, seriously threatened by U-Tube, self-producing, long form interviews and intellectual discussions. Ergo, the Intellectual Dark Web, inter alia, is absolutely thriving.

        1. Saxon Broken says:

          Huh? If there is one place where “confirmation bias” is rife, it is the internet, U-tube, “dark web” etc. Newspapers, whatever you may think about their political slant, usually have to check their facts and avoid libellous comments.

  2. Pianofortissimo says:

    She is not the only one claiming that ‘failing NYT’ is ‘fake news.’

    1. Petros Linardos says:

      But she does come across as a crook.

      1. Sue says:

        What do you mean by this?

  3. Caravaggio says:

    Funny no one mentions that her singing is now even more impossible to tolerate than before due to the deteriorating and ever present mannerisms that keep getting worse and worse.

    1. Bruce says:

      Shame on them for not expressing your opinion at every opportunity, whether her singing is the subject of the article or not.

  4. Nick2 says:

    Perhaps she left Mary Lou Falcone’s agency too early, having made a big splash some years ago that she had decided to take her PR management “in house’.

    1. Robert Levin says:

      Yes, Renée would have been better off had she not left Mary Lou Falcone, who, by the way, was completely responsible for her entire career. Mary Lou made it happen for Renée, there is no question about it!

      1. whoismarylou? says:

        Who is Mary Lou?

        1. Sue says:

          Hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart!!

        2. Nick2 says:

          A major PR Agency run by Mary Lou Falcone. his from The Observer at the time of Ms. Fleming deciding to leave the agency.

          “Ms. Falcone is one of the most highly regarded behind-the-scenes figures in the classical-music industry, known for the subtle strategic crafting of an artist’s image over the course of decades. In the acknowledgments of her 2005 memoir The Inner Voice, Ms. Fleming wrote that Ms. Falcone ‘has advised me every step of the way and in all things.’ Ms. Falcone started her eponymous public relations company in 1974 and currently represents a carefully curated list of high-profile artists and institutions, including the conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the Vienna Philharmonic, and Carnegie Hall.

          “She began working with Ms. Fleming, now one of the biggest stars in opera, in 1995, the year the soprano opened the Met’s season opposite Placido Domingo in Verdi’s Otello. Ms. Falcone shepherded Ms. Fleming through her career’s low points–particularly a rocky period during 1998, when she was booed at La Scala (a night Ms. Fleming describes in her memoir as the worst of her operatic life), divorced, and canceled a run of La Traviata at the Met–as well as her more recent successes, including a performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at the concert celebrating President Obama’s inauguration that sealed Ms. Fleming’s reputation as ‘the people’s diva.'”

  5. Yes Addison says:

    If people have an impression the ROH/Met Rosenkavalier was a planned ending to something, it’s not due to inaccurate reporting; it’s based on her own statements.

    Telegraph, February 2016: “[Opera is] physically demanding and time-consuming. I’ve done a great deal of it over my career, and I don’t want anyone saying that I sang such-and-such a thing better five years ago. So I’ve decided that Rosenkavalier at Covent Garden and the Met next season will be my last mainstream opera appearances. It’s not retirement – I might be tempted by something newly written, but I’m not going to cling on. There’s plenty else I want to do.”

    Financial Times, December 2016: “[A]fter Rosenkavalier at the Met, that is it, unless a new role comes along that is fit for me now. But I remember being at Elisabeth Söderström’s farewell at the Met, which was also Rosenkavalier, and I was crying along with everybody else. Then a few years later she came back. So this is something I have learnt from my colleagues. Never say ‘never’!” [Söderström’s return was as the Tchaikovsky Queen of Spades Countess, actually 12 years later.]

    Charles McGrath’s New York Times profile, April 2017, the one at issue: “Ms. Fleming insisted that she wouldn’t stop singing entirely but that she was just changing her focus. She plans to give more concerts (which, though she didn’t say so, are both easier and far more lucrative than singing staged opera), make more records, find new music to sing, and spend more time at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she was named creative consultant in 2010.”

    All three of these articles made clear the nuances of her position. Note she has sung no operatic roles anywhere since May 2017, nor is any listed on her upcoming schedule.

    1. Caravaggio says:

      Exactly. Maybe she is channelling the loose cannon and obfuscating ways of a certain president of her country. Shortly before her stint in Carousel she gave an interview to, you guessed it, the NYTimes in which she declared that she was the first operatic soprano to sing the role of Nettie. Which is false. The shill who conducted the interview did not correct her and incorrectly it was published. Very stupid.

      1. anon says:

        She lost the Tony to her co-star.

  6. jim says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read one word that was even slightly negative regarding Ms. Fleming in the NYTimes. If anything their coverage of her read like a fanboy’s blog. I read a lot of that coverage regarding her “retirement” or whatever it was. There were a lot of articles over a fair amount of time. Seems she could have stepped in to correct the record at just about any time. I don’t recall her ever being particularly shy about talking to the press. Here’s my uninformed take on this. Her and the Met wanted the publicity and the sales that came from her impending “retirement”, but now she’s having second thoughts about it and looking for someone else to blame rather than just saying she’s changed her mind. She wouldn’t be the first performer to announce a retirement only to discover it’s not what they want at all.


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