Breaking: New York will hear the last of Renée Fleming

Breaking: New York will hear the last of Renée Fleming


norman lebrecht

April 05, 2017

The New York Times announces today that the American diva’s last Rosenkavalier at the Met on May 13 will also be her farewell to opera.

Ms Fleming is 58, the same age as her mentor Leontyne Price was when she called it quits. She has been quietly winding down her opera commitments for several years.

The article, which will not appear in the print edition until April 9, has all the hallmarks of a high-class PR coup. A fond smile, a tear, and four times as long as necessary.


photo: Dale Wilcox/Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Unlike Ms Fleming, who times everything to perfection.


  • herrera says:

    Good God, the article reads like a preview of her obituary. She’s just retiring from staged opera, not ending her career, much less locking up herself in her apartment Maria Callas like.

  • Alexander says:

    … it only means she will have more time for recitals and be able to come to my fav opera house one day ( I think rather soon than on the contrary 😉 ) … any way she doesn’t sing Lucrezia and Armida any more and Strauss is too long to listen to the end , almost as Wagner and Prokofiev …. just my opinion of course …Renée don’t have us wait for too long 😉

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Might as well. Terrible physical and vocal actress that she is, she often projected a suburban soccer mom who took a wrong turn and ended on a stage. She did have a captivating voice in the mid ’90s but not long after the vocal mannerisms began to creep in and it was never the same.

    • John says:

      Somehow, in spite of your authoritative view, she seems to have had a spectacular career anyway. Why doesn’t the world listen to you more?

    • Alexander Davidson says:

      James Levine, Sir Antonio Pappano, Claudio Abbado, and Sir Georg Solti, among others, evidently failed to make these same observations.

      • Bruce says:

        …which just goes to show how much more perceptive and discriminating our Mr. Monster is than all those famous so-called conductors.

        • Berliner says:

          These conductors didn’t choose to engage her, the agents pushed her on them. I saw Abbado, for one, dismissively almost ignoring her in a performance of Mahler 4 with Berlin. He seemed to give up trying to support her as she gasped for breath, so he took off in a tempo of his choice.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    And her too often misguided excursions into pop and jazz music are, at best, forgotten. At worst, insert-your-favorite-scatological-term-here.


    She announced this in an interview for the Telegraph a year ago!

  • Nick says:

    Hard to recall that by this age Dame Janet Baker had retired from both the stage (49) and concert platform (56).

  • Mario Denis says:

    Lovely lady but I spent lots of $$$$ for very disappointing experiences, will check Spotify next time instead. I remember some French article years ago claiming she would be the Best Soprano in the world, never happened. I enjoyed her as a presenter on Live from HD!!! Nice personality.

  • Marg says:

    Every great singer has those who love her/him and those who think the singer is subpar. As witnessed above. For myself, I have enjoyed Renee’s singing (and acting) over the years both in HD and live, opera and recital. I wish her well. She has been tireless in promoting opera and encouraging young people as singers and lovers of opera. We need more like her. And she is right up there on being a non-diva diva.

  • M2N2K says:

    Her acting was never exceptional, but her singing for at least two decades between 1990 and 2010 was absolutely superb. She is wise to retire from operatic stages right now, but I am sure that musical world including New York will keep hearing her in concert performances for a few more years.

  • Tom Graham says:

    A lovely lady and marvellous artist. Her Rusalka recording will be in the catalog for years. Renee was successful in America and Europe and never had any pretention. More to the point she was a real star which the opera world needs. Sad to see her leave the stage but somehow I think she, like Marilyn Horne, will be a force for good in this evermore philistine world