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I Want Magic! / Renee Fleming


Release Date: 09/15/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 460567   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Bernard HerrmannGeorge GershwinLeonard BernsteinCarlisle Floyd,   ... 
Performer:  Renée Fleming
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera OrchestraNew York Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews



This disc received Gramophone's "Recording of the Month" award for November 1998.

Coming so soon after Dawn Upshaw’s recital of American opera arias (Nonesuch, 9/98), and Barbara Bonney’s, Jennifer Larmore’s and Thomas Hampson’s solo song collections (Decca, 2/98, Teldec, 12/97 and EMI, 10/97), this survey of operas old and new reinforces the feeling that the current generation of star singers in the USA is making an effort to explore home-grown repertory.

Fleming’s voice is sumptuous, her lower register especially sounds so warmly resonant that I found myself thinking of Leontyne Price in her glory days. (Three of these arias were recorded by Price, two from Porgy and
Read more Bess and the great scene from Vanessa.) Fleming shows herself equal to every mood; only at the end of “Glitter and be gay” is there a false moment when she rather overdoes the brittle laughter. What beautiful tunes there are here, including the waltz song from The Medium and “Ain’t it a pretty night” from Susannah – the only item that is duplicated in the Upshaw selection. To make a comparison in general, one has to say that Upshaw’s voice suggests Mozart’s Susanna, whereas Fleming is a born Countess.

By the time this review appears, Renee Fleming will have taken part in the world premiere of Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire in San Francisco and her programme ends with a sneak preview of that. “I want magic!” is Blanche’s philosophy of life, justifying her constant flights of fancy; if Previn and his librettist, Philip Littell, pull off the challenge of adapting this play for opera, the last years of the twentieth century will have a new demented prima donna role.

Among the other items, Fleming makes the extract from Wuthering Heights sound positively Mahleresque, and Anne’s great aria from The Rake’s Progress – which is I suppose ‘officially’ an American opera, Stravinsky, Auden and Kallman at least all being resident there when it was written – suits her surprisingly well. (It’s another role she has sung on stage.) James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra provide idiomatic accompaniment – of the operas represented here only three have been performed at the Met (The Rake’s Progress, Vanessa and Porgy), although Susannah is scheduled for its Met premiere (44 years after its first performance) next March – with Fleming in the title-role. In between Streetcar and Susannah, Fleming is singing Violetta in the new Met Traviata. If she can stay the course, she’s surely destined to be one of the greats.

--Gramophone Magazine Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Wuthering Heights: I have dreamt by Bernard Herrmann
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940-1952; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Porgy and Bess: Summertime by George Gershwin
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
Porgy and Bess: My man's gone now by George Gershwin
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  New York Voices
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Candide: Glitter and be gay by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956/1988; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
Susannah: Ain't it a pretty night? by Carlisle Floyd
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
Susannah: Trees on the Mountain by Carlisle Floyd
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
Rake's Progress: No word from Tom by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948-1951; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection continues with "I go, I go to him". 
8.
Vanessa, Op. 32: He has come, he has come! by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with "Do not utter a word" from
Samuel Barber's "Vanessa". 
9.
Vanessa, Op. 32: Do not utter a word by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with "He has come, he has come!" from Samuel Barber's "Vanessa". 
10.
A Streetcar Named Desire: I Want Magic! by André Previn
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 
11.
The Ballad of Baby Doe: Letter Song by Douglas Moore
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
The Medium: Bravo!...Up in the sky "Monica's Waltz" by Gian Carlo Menotti
Performer:  Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Wuthering Heights - opera in 4 Acts: I have dreamt
The Ballad of Baby Doe: The Letter Song
The Medium: Monica's Waltz
Porgy and Bess - Act 1: Summertime
Porgy and Bess / Act 1: "My man's gone now"
Candide: Glitter and be gay
Susannah - music drama in 2 Acts: Ain't it a pretty night?
Susannah - music drama in 2 Acts: The trees on the mountain
The Rake's Progress / Act 1/Scene 3: "No word from Tom"
Vanessa - opera in 4 Acts / Act 1: He has come...do not utter a word, Anatol
A Streetcar named desire: I want magic

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