Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Classical
One of the World's Great Voices Puts Her Indelible Signature On Songs By Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Death Cab For Cutie, The Mars Volta, Muse, and of course, Leonard Cohen. Renée Fleming s new album 'Dark Hope', which th... more »
Listen to Samples
One of the World's Great Voices Puts Her Indelible Signature On Songs By Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Death Cab For Cutie, The Mars Volta, Muse, and of course, Leonard Cohen. Renée Fleming s new album 'Dark Hope', which the opera star describes as a visit to a new universe for her, will be released by Decca this spring. The album was recorded in close collaboration with producer David Kahne (Regina Spektor, The Strokes, The Bangles, Sublime, and countless others) in New York City, and features a diverse and adventurous track listing of songs as interpreted by one of the world s great voices. Fleming, the superstar soprano known as "the people's diva," says of the songs on 'Dark Hope': "One of the ways that you keep people interested is by taking risks and what could be a greater risk than this?" Producer Kahne was a true collaborator during the recording process, driving most of the arrangements and pushing Fleming to learn how to sing all over again. Also joining Fleming on the album are her two daughters and sister, who sing backup on several songs.
The album features a voice that's been called "superlative" (Denver Post) and "radiant" (Chicago Tribune). But Fleming says that for the recording of this album, "Singing in a small, acoustic booth, with a microphone that s very close, in this very intimate style, is the complete opposite of what I [usually] do." There were similarities to how she prepares for an opera role, however. Fleming points out that for each track on 'Dark Hope' "we found an interpretation that enabled the point of view to sound authentic coming from me. Every song has a story like that, so this whole idea of enacting or playing a role is doubly true for this music." Renée Fleming, a Fulbright Scholar and three-time Grammy award winner, is one of the world's most famous and accomplished vocalists. A New Yorker who made her professional opera debut in 1986 and her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1991, she has had star roles at great halls worldwide and last year was a featured performer at President Obama's Inaugural Celebration. Fleming has also had an interest in jazz since her college years at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and has recorded jazz repertoire throughout her career including 'Haunted Heart', the lauded collaboration with pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Bill Frisell.
Similarly Requested CDs
Definitely worth the detour
L. Gallagher | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is just fabulous. Anyone who knows or cares about Renee Fleming's career will probably have read the advance reviews in the mainstream press--notably, the pieces in The New York Times that can't quite decide what to make of this venture and so chastise the artist for claiming that this isn't, finally, a "crossover" album, and then worry about who the audience might be: Will classical listeners even recognize Fleming's voice? Will indie rock fans have the remotest interest in listening to covers performed by a classical artist? Kudos to Decca for taking the risk. Listening to "Dark Hope" does provide a measure of cognitive dissonance, and yet it's not hard to see why Fleming would not want to be identified here as a "crossover" artist. If this is "crossover," then it completely reinvents the sense and the sound of the term. We're a long, long way from the crooning duo of Placido Domingo and John Denver, and even from Eileen Farrell's or Kiri Te Kanawa's lovely excursions into the Great American Songbook. But it is not true that you won't recognize Fleming's voice. If you try really hard, you can detect it. (Listening to her previous foray into a pop-jazz idiom, the amazing "Haunted Heart," helps set the compass.) And if you try really, really hard, you can even sense how Fleming's phrasing in the ecstatically brilliant "Hallelujah" channels Joni Mitchell as well as her own familiarity with Handel. If this is "crossover," this is wonderful. But what's the point of such archaeology? The singing and the soundscapes and sonic envelope on this recording are simply brilliant -- edgy, eclectic, and with a lacing of camp (maybe unintended, but who cares?). Hard to say what the indie-rock audience will think. As an opera and classical music buff, I can only say that I am in complete awe of Fleming's musical curiosity and ingenuity. She clearly doesn't need to do this, given the astonishing vocal health she continues to enjoy in her native idiom, but it very much sounds as if she does need to do this at a level that transcends questions of vocal capacity or career management. And there is nothing condescending about the music making on this recording. Far from it. It is not indie-rock and certainly not classical. It is simply, staggeringly and sometimes bewilderingly, unique."
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT . . .
Operaman! | Chicago, IL United States | 06/23/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Madame Fleming knew there would be naysayers with this release of rather esoteric rock anthems. The truth is there's never been anything like this. It completely falls outside the parameters of classical vocalists taking on "pops" repertoire or "crossover" (Eileen Farrell still the champion of this undertaking) or when pops vocalists do the opposite (Streisand, Mouskouri, or very sadly Bolton on whose opera CD Miss Fleming was an accomplice). The diva has taken on the guise of a rock balladeer with absolutely no trace of operatic persona (although it might have been a hoot if she had taken one of her songs into the strastosphere a la Nina Hagen!). The only song I'm even vaguely familiar with is Arcade Fire's Intervention . . . and her clear diction is an improvement (but not a replacement) on the original. The only drawback here is the lack of musical contrast with these songs, and a sort of sameness with her instrumental backup.
Classical and operatic purists will know to stay away. If you have a preconceived notion this will be like Kiri Te Kanawa's trainwreck jazz album or Terfel or Hampsons's baritonial forays into pops, forget it. Definitely worth a listen for those who are musically broad-minded. Simply not for everyone."
A Wonderful Surprise....
Robert C. Hufford | Hopewell, VA USA | 06/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, a couple of disclaimers: I bought this as a curiosity. Renee Fleming is certainly "known" to any "opera freak", which my poor wife will gladly tell you that I am, and part of me just wanted to see how badly she messed up. And second, I am not really qualified to review this type of music, "indie rock", or whatever you call it. The subject of classical performers singing "rock" is painful to contemplate, and I won't list examples except one that went the other way when Wagnerian Peter Hofmann got it right about 25 years ago. And leave out the late, great, Eileen Farrell and the absolutely fabulous discs she cut for Reference Recordings in the late'80s and early '90s: those sure aren't rock, and the Great American Songbook had always been part of her repertoire anyway.
Renee DID NOT mess up!! This is a wonderful album that I hope fans from "both sides of the aisle" will listen to. Yes, you can tell that a Rolls Royce engine is powering Volkeswagen music. But it's nice to have it sung with strength and faultless diction! I shall mention two specifics: The young artist Duffy did "Stepping Stone" on her "Rockferry" a couple of years back, and sang it very well, but this is a different order of magnitude, with Renee coming across NOT as an opera singer doing pop, but simply as a pop singer with exceptional pipes. Further, I have heard Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" from lots of voices, and NEVER heard it better. Period. The sound and back-up are excellent throughout, as is the disc presentation.
Thinking of the whole record, I wonder why I even thought Renee could ever be less than perfect. She may never give us anything similar, so better grab this...You Go Girl!!!"