Renée Fleming is a Mensch

Renée Fleming is a Mensch


norman lebrecht

May 11, 2017

Before the last night of Rosenkavalier, the diva sent a package of goodies to the Met orchestra musicians, together with a letter thanking them for their collaboration across many years.


She did the same, too, for the chorus.

That’s class.


Right-click on the letter to enlarge in new window.



  • Petros Linardos says:

    Very moving. Does anyone known other precedents among singers of Fleming’s fame?

    • Olassus says:

      I would never call her a “Mensch” — just an organized, considerate and smart human being who would be an ideal figurehead, fundraiser, advocate, manager and trustee to restore the badly damaged company.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    No, what Renée Fleming is is a shameless self publicist. For example, as late as last evening the PBS Newshour had a segment dedicated to her. As if they were not other important, if not more important, singers to report on. And it is not as if she is still in her prime. Far from it. By the way, in light of the current political crisis in the U.S., let alone other fires around the world, why is the Newshour squandering precious time on and insulting us with Fleming? What next? Another segment on Bocelli or Domingo? The Corp for PB Ombudsman will soon be hearing from me. FWIW.

    • V.Lind says:

      She may not be a mensch, but you really are a putz.

      • AMetFan says:

        Well said. I’ve had many contacts with Renee and her office over the years, and all I can say is that they were unfailingly kind and gracious. For any artist to endure for so many years, aside from talent, they must be professional and consistent in all areas. (Think also Domingo.) Ms. Fleming is class act and deserves every accolade. May she continue for a very long time. Haters, desist!

    • Tristan says:

      your name suits you!
      You just simply don’t know what class and style is and I feel sorry for you! She is probably the only singer around who has class – not only on stage but also in real life! She is a lady, cultivated and intelligent! Her Marshallin is simply a class of its own. I speak German so I can judge her fine pronounciation with the typical Viennese accent and sound – trust me she is better in it than most German or Austrian singer. We will miss her all over on earth and yes she is definitely a Mensch!

      • AMetFan says:

        While I agree with Tristan, I take great exception to your statement “She is probably the only singer around who has class”. Yes, Renee has class and many other fine attributes, but so do many, many (most) opera singers. In general, opera singers are a fine and generous lot, which considering their tenuous careers (I learned years ago not to ask singers about upcoming engagements, since the answer is often embarrassing for them), speaks volumes for their intelligence and dedication to their art. And with regard to Ungeheur’s nasty comment, I’ve never met a singer who performs regularly who does not self-promote. It is called survival. If Ms. Fleming (or any other working opera singer) had not been hungry throughout her career, there would not have been a career. We all would have been the poorer.

      • Jaybuyer says:

        I too admire Ms Fleming, so great then was my disappointment that, after all these years of singing the Marschallin and studying Strauss operas, she persisted in calling Hofmannsthal “Hofmann- shtahl” in an interview during the radio broadcast of Cyrano de Bergerac. A little like all the clever clogs who believe they should say ‘Reich-shtag’, ‘Bunde-shtag’ and, ghastliest of all, ‘Liebe-shtod’!

    • Alexander Davidson says:

      Don’t worry, I think your irrational dislike of Ms Fleming is already well known on this blog.

    • Bruce says:

      If you watched the News Hour last night, then you know that they devoted almost the entire program to the James Comey affair.

    • Sophia Baldaracci says:

      Get a life. Will you. If you don’t like PBS watch Fox news. This is a free country, where now more than ever arts are needed. And Ms Fleming is a very talented artist. But what do you know about that, right? Do you even know how to read music?

  • Jaybuyer says:

    Isn’t she singing on Saturday (in my cinema)? I know it’s only a matinée…..or is it in fact a recording?

    • Dianne Fiumara says:

      Saturday is a Met Live Simulcast of Ms. Fleming’s FINAL performance as The Marschallin, sure to be an unforgettable experience. I’ll be watching in a local theatre. Tickets can be found thru Fathom Events.

  • MacroV says:

    I hope you meant literally last “night,” because she’s supposed to be singing on Saturday afternoon for the Live in HD crowd.

  • Marg says:

    Renee has class. Period.

  • Alexander says:

    Renée has always been and is a good girl 😉 She is very welcome to our summer festival with a recital 😉

  • The View from America says:

    In every era, there are many opera singers who have class. And then there are the few who are truly head of the “class.”

    In an earlier generation, that was Rise Stevens. Today, it’s Renee Fleming.

    • AMetFan says:

      Interesting comment about Risë Stevens. I had the great honor to have spent much time with Miss Stevens and I think she is more a model for the Fleming type of career than a Sills (another singer who promoted herself a lot). All three were driven (Miss Stevens, of course, had her beloved Walter to help her navigate her career), but the long-term goals of Risë Stevens and Renée Fleming seem more similar. If that is any predictor, we will see Ms. Fleming fulfilling other capacities in the opera world for a long time. That said, Renée ought be one of the (sadly, few) artist representatives on the Met’s board, as was Risë Stevens.

  • André Paradis says:

    It’s always interesting if not enlightening to read the comments on a major artist. As much psychological as musical reactions. Renée Fleming provided me with many truly wonderful musical experiences and for that I am forever grateful. I’ll always remember her Capriccio Countess as well as that luscious singing that captivated my ears when she sang Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles back in the early 90s. Some roles were not a great fit, but it’s mostly been hits since then. Thank you, Ms Fleming.

  • Grace says:

    Class act indeed. And as for PBS, the segment was just one welcome nonpolitical piece in a full commercial-free hour of ultra serious news. Renee Fleming was, as always, charming and honest.