21 November 2005

10 Follow-up Questions for Renee Fleming

Sieglinde reads Time Magazine's little interview with our resident diva Renée Fleming, and can't help but submit follow-up questions to continue this most interesting conversation.

RENÉE: "Every singer eventually gets around to a Christmas disc. Only now it's called a sacred collection."
SIEGLINDE: Yes, we hear Leyla Gencer is under intense negotiations with Fonit Cetra, or Legato ... or is it with Falcon/Mustang ... In any case, what do you think she should call her disc?

RENÉE: "[Audiences] want to hear the most thrilling singing. When a human being without amplification makes a sound that is high and loud, it is almost unworldly."
SIEGLINDE: How gracious of you to recommend that audiences hear the likes of Deborah Voigt and Christine Brewer, the huge diva that you are. Who else sings high and loud these days?

RENÉE: "But I think the real future is streaming video over the Internet--then you can be heard not just by 3,000 people in the hall but live all around the world. One of the biggest markets for classical music is China."
SIEGLINDE: Oh these Diaries believe streaming video of opera is the next porn too. And speaking of piracy, I hear Sacred Songs is number one in Hong Kong. Is it because your voice is just so easy to fake?

RENÉE: "The voice is such a mystery. It is hard to diagnose if something goes wrong. No one really knows what happened to Callas' voice when it went. But I am now at a point where I can trust my voice better."
SIEGLINDE: So, you think you're better than Callas. Funny, a lot of people say that! Who else do you exceed?

RENÉE: "[Opera at La Scala] is a little bit like a sports event, with fans shouting at their teams."
SIEGLINDE: Oh, the booing was really just about soccer (or football?), and had nothing to do with your singing whatsoever?

RENÉE: On practicing singing in front of the mirror. "Once in a while. I can see if I am singing out of the side of my mouth or lifting a shoulder--we do all these involuntary movements when we sing."
SIEGLINDE: Do you see the saccharine tone drool coming out of the side of your mouth too? We can see it all the way from Family Circle, you know.

RENÉE: "If I could just sit in the audience and hear myself, I would be so much better, but I have to rely on others listening to me."
SIEGLINDE: So tell me, who in Opera-L do you really, really hate? And what is it that La Cieca hears when she attends one of your soirees?

RENÉE: "Would you believe--in two dialects, old Elvish and new Elvish? Who knew? It was wonderful. It put me in touch with a whole new audience, including my children's friends."
SIEGLINDE: Why, do they speak Elvish too?

RENÉE: "I think of (Luciano) as Ella Fitzgerald, and Placido as Sarah Vaughan. Luciano-- classical, crystal, timeless perfection. Placido--more baroque, a little bit twisted, crazy and sexy. For my own singing, I used to be attracted by the baroque, the flashier the better, but now I prefer a simpler, purer style."
SIEGLINDE: So you did sleep with Placido in your younger days. How twisted and crazy did he get? But now you're into simpler and purer, and yes, Luciano can be wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am these days, but do you also hate it when he calls you Marta during the sex?

RENÉE: On Chef Boulod's creation called Diva Renee au Chocolat. "It is too many calories! And with my face lasered on the front of the dessert, it is hard for me to look at that and then eat it anyway!"
SIEGLINDE: What is the best way to slice your face? And speaking of dessert, have you tried the day-old Gheorghius at the corner Polish deli? They're not only sweet, but they're just so high in fiber too.