Just out: Is Renée Fleming totally in tune?

Christmas is coming and the diva’s doing crossover with Broadway actress Kelli O’Hara. The light-voiced Ms O’Hara is amazingly pitch true. Not sure if Ms Fleming is bang on the  note throughout the track. Check those opening measures.

fleming o'hara

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  • I like it very much and I enjoy the album, although it isn’t remotely classical. Kudos to Renee for reaching across boundaries to help make classical music relevant.

    Whereas the top “classical” singers in the UK who are all over the television are “classical crossover,” here we are very lucky to have Ms. Fleming.

  • Yes, KOH’s pitch is good, except perhaps at the very end where she sounds just a bit flat. As for RF, she is fine when singing alone and/or the top voice, but unfortunately when she has to sing the bottom line, she sounds flat most of the time.

  • The trouble is she’s having to keep it down to match match Ms O’Hara.

    Singing at less than full voice, not all the resonances and harmonics are kicking in so of course it sounds flat.

    • It sounds flat because in the lower register RF *is* flat in this video, which is why she is unable to Match KOH who sings quite consistently in tune here.

  • I don’t hear Fleming sounding off pitch here. Maybe the confusion is that we’re hearing the song in G sharp (unless it’s A in baroque tuning) and she singing the lower thirds to O’Hara’s lead of the melody. Sounds good to me.

    • If you hear it in G#Major, that means you like eight (8!) sharps in the key signature. For me, it is definitely AbMajor with mere four flats which is far more practical. In any case, it does not change the issue of pitch accuracy at all.

    • Not “like she always does” at all: I have heard her in live performances and on recordings many times throughout all three decades of her career, and her intonation has been usually very good, but here unfortunately it is not.

  • What’s out of tune here? They’re perfectly in tune with each other. Literally nothing to pick at here. I wonder if the different timbres are confusing you uneducated lot?

    • You are the one who is confused in this case: it is not a matter of education but of degree of refinement in a person’s sense of musical hearing.

      • I think that could easily come under the umbrella of education, stop picking at semantics. I have a professionally acute ear and this isn’t out of tune.

        • Evidently, your ear is not as “acute” as you think it is, because some of the notes RF sings on a lower line here are in fact out of tune – they are flat.

        • Still listening, jonathan? A simple thank you from you to me for spending my time trying to help you would’ve been nice. But I am not surprised at your sudden silence – just disappointed a little, because I always want to believe in people’s goodness, at least until they prove otherwise. Good luck with your intensive work on improving your pitch perception! You truly need it, as do some of the other commenters here.

    • What’s the point of listing all the pitch problems? If you don’t hear them, my pointing them out is not going to change that. But since you insist and because I always respect people’s willingness to learn, here are a few: C at 0:02, F at 0:05, Ab at 0:11, C at 0:27, Db at 0:57, Ab at 1:01. When the opening phrase returns after that, the same notes are again flat. Her pitch is quite good in the middle part of the song, then again falters before the end: both Bbs at 2:42 and at 2:50 are flat as is the very last Ab. If you don’t hear any of that, I would definitely not trust you with tuning my piano.

  • It is not a big deal really, but there is a question in the headline of this post and an honest answer to it is *no, she is not*; unfortunately so for me, because I personally have been RF’s fan for a long time now.

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