Operagasm Exclusive Review: Renee Fleming’s Vienna at the Turn of the Century Recital
by Wade Davis
What can you say about the diva??
In case you haven’t read her book The Inner Voice, she studied with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf on a Fullbright Scholar and she speaks fluent German. Here she gives yet another example of her affinity for the language and how she uses her voice as a musician, not just a singer.
She opens this recital with Wolf’s Five Songs to texts by Goethe (in a fabulous blue and black plaid gown presumably by Vivienne Westwood). These charming songs show how Wolf paved the way for those to follow, namely Mahler and Schoenberg, whom she also sings here.
The Mahler songs find Fleming at her best in the final, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” where she informs us that she has abandoned the world for she is in bliss with her song.
The second half opens with two very interesting works by Schoenberg — and with Fleming in a dazzling couture creation! Renee Fleming KNOWS she can wear these one-of-a-kind gowns, do you hear me?! Completely unbeknownst to me (and now an absolute treasure) is “Jane Grey” Op. 12, no. 1.
Zemlinsky’s Five Songs to poems by Dehmel is followed by a gorgeous sampling of Korngold. Her encores include Zueignung, “Marietta’s Lied,” and “Summertime”.
Major kudos to Maciej Pikulski for truly showing what an asset a great collaborative pianist is! This DVD is not only for Fleming fans, but for anyone who is interested in exquisite music making by two artists of this supreme caliber. A very special thanks to NAXOS for providing this recording for review!
Cover photo credit: Decca/Andrew Eccles
Wade Davis was born in New York in 1982. At the age of seven, he began studying the cello in the String Project at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, South Carolina. After two years of studying privately with Ashley Gobbel, Wade began studying with Dr. Robert Jesselson, Professor of Cello at the University of South Carolina. Wade was the winner of the South Carolina Philharmonic Jr. Young Artist’s Prize in 1998 and the South Carolina All-State Orchestra Concerto Competition winner for 2001. Wade’s studies continued with Dr. Jesselson for eight years until Wade’s graduation in the Inaugural Class of 2001 at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. He then attended the North Carolina School for the Arts in Winston-Salem. After two years of tutelage with Marcy Rosen, Wade transferred to the College of Charleston where he completed his undergraduate studies with Professor Natalia Khoma. He then obtained both a Master’s Degree in Baroque Cello Performance and a Graduate Performance Degree in Historical Cello from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University as a student of John Moran.