Renée Fleming: I’m heading for Broadwaymain
A dedicated Fleming watcher has sent us this interview with the diva, from littlerock.com. The news-making quote is:
As the conversation drew to a close, Fleming revealed the next “out of the box” undertaking on her to-do list: She hopes to star on Broadway in a production of “Living on Love,” a farce she performed in this past summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Her face brightened as she discussed the play, which is based on Garson Kanin’s “Peccadillo” (1985) and cast Fleming as a fading opera diva.
“It was really fun and very challenging for me,” Fleming said. “I was so ignorant that I didn’t even realize how hard farce is, because it’s all about timing and things have to go very quickly. I also didn’t realize what happens when you’re not supported by music. It’s a different part of your brain.
“Right now we’re waiting on a Broadway theater to become available,” she said. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m super-happy. I feel very fortunate to be able to broaden what I’m doing in this way. It’s a real gift. I’ve been singing opera now for almost 25 years, so it’s time to think about other things. I can concertize for a long time, and I have a lot of options, which is very exciting.”
Ms Fleming goes on to say:
“I felt very straitjacketed until about 10 years ago, and all of my career before then, because there was this idea that, if you didn’t follow this specifically European template of what an opera singer is … First of all, that was a risk, because you didn’t want to lose your stature as some highbrow performer, and, secondly, you didn’t want to dilute what you were doing. The more successful classical musicians have been specialists. I was already not a specialist, because my interests in music, in classical music, were too broad.
“Then I thought, ‘I grew up listening to all kinds of things and singing different styles,’” she said. “I even sang country-western at a C.B.-radio convention once. I really felt, with jazz, that I had some credibility, because I’d sung for two-and-a-half years with a trio. I sang a lot of folk music as well, and played guitar quite well when I was young. I learned all of Joni Mitchell’s songs, and she was my idol.
“So I wanted to branch out a little, and I’ve resisted that pigeonholing.”