Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Age of This Diva

I don't usually listen to recordings. I collect them as souvenirs. But this one is different. I cannot stop listening. As in her incandescent recording of Daphne, a beautiful souvenir of the concert performance at Carnegie Hall one year ago, I marvel at how sound engineers have finally figured out how to capture the sumptuous beauty of Renee Fleming's voice.

I find myself getting tipsy while listening to the Korngold tracks, especially "Ich ging zu ihm" from Das Wunder der Heliane. As Fleming has said [thanks, Sarah], you just want to take a bath in it.

More on this later.

UPDATE (6:36pm):

This eloquent passage is from Jay Nordlinger's review in the New York Sun:

I have a strange opinion, which is that Ms. Fleming, famous as she is, is underrated. Critics, particularly, tend to overlook how good she is, because she's something of a pop celebrity, and because her mannerisms — vocal mannerisms, I mean — can annoy. Really annoy. Like anyone else, she's capable of performing badly. But she can also perform like an immortal.

And "Homage" is one of the best albums she has ever done. It is a tribute, not just to divas past, or to the diva present, but to opera itself, and the human voice.

What he says is very true. Underrated and underappreciated.

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