Episode #16

Renée Fleming

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Renée Fleming's singing voice has been described as "double cream." She remembers being "jelly" at the end of her first rehearsal for her professional debut. In this episode, she talks about performing and the challenges of being heard, without amplification, over an orchestra, but also about the pleasure of being in the audience “where I have literally been sobbing at the end” of an opera.  

Music excerpts included in Here’s the Thing’s conversation with Renée Fleming (in order of appearance):


“Glück, das mir verblieb (Marietta’s Lied)” from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt 

(Live performance from the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala, March 15, 2009; Conductor: James Levine)


I’ll Be Seeing You” (Renée Fleming with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble/”Arranger’s Holiday” recorded Fall 1981 (archive tape courtesy Renée Fleming; special thanks to Ed Fleming)


"Contessa, perdono!" from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Houston Grand Opera.  Conductor; Christoph Eschenbach. 1991


“Glück, das mir verblieb (Marietta’s Lied)” from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt 

 (Live performance from the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala, March 15, 2009; Conductor: James Levine)


“Dis-moi que je suis belle” from Massenet’s Thaïs 

(Live Met performance, December 20th, 2008; Conductor: Jesús López-Cobos)


“Hab’ mir’s gelobt” from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier 

(Live Met performance, January 9, 2010, with Susan Graham as Octavian and Christine Schäfer as Sophie; Conductor: Edo de Waart) 


“Mio caro bene” from Handel’s Rodelinda

(Live Met performance, January 1, 2005; Conductor: Harry Bicket)


Finale from Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades

(Live Met performance, March 26, 2011; Conductor: Andris Nelsons)


Finale from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro

(Live Met performance, February 12, 1994, with Dwayne Croft (Count Almaviva), Marie McLaughlin (Susanna), James Morris (Figaro), Jane Bunnell (Cherubino), François Loup (Dr. Bartolo), Judith Christin (Marcellina), Michel Sénéchal (Don Basilio), James Courtney (Antonio), and Korliss Uecker (Barbarina); Conductor: Julius Rudel)


Special thanks this week to The Metropolitan Opera and the Houston Grand Opera for providing archival musical excerpts.  In particular, thanks to Peter Clark, Mary Jo Heath, Brent Ness, Sam Neuman, Elena Park, and Claire Vince.  And thanks to Paul Batsel at the Office of Renée Fleming.


Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

Comments [11]

marc from brooklyn

gee not a white male but a white female. change is good.

Sep. 14 2012 09:04 AM
parky carkas from Italy

Interesting conversation, as is always the case with 'Here's the Thing', but in this interview I'm afraid that the host was interrupting his guest more than was necessary.

Jul. 20 2012 11:03 AM
Adam L. from Los Angeles

this interview was exquisite. every journalist, every broadcaster, every student of the art of the interview should study it, and learn from it. i have no interest in opera whatsoever, but i was so riveted by the line of questioning, the intelligence behind each response, the passion for the subject, and the connection the interviewer drew to his own creative endeavors, that i couldn't keep from listening to it three times. i couldn't have been more inspired. thank you for this gift, mr. baldwin.

Jul. 07 2012 09:06 PM
melissa errico

I love this interview! It was mesmerizing, a real conversation about this path she's been on. Thank you Alec! Thank you Renee!

Jun. 29 2012 05:55 PM
Strayer from Washington, DC

Alec Baldwin is an intelligent interviewer who listens to his guests while at the same time remembering where he wants to go. He has opinions but also knows how to shut up. I wish he would replace Charlie Rose.

Jun. 19 2012 09:18 AM
Sean from Seattle

It's a great show. I've been spreading the word about how entertaining and how relaxed an interviewer Alec is. The Renee Fleming interview was great and I always look forward to more. Keep them coming!

Jun. 15 2012 07:25 PM
Pani Grosen from Denmark

I like the atmosphere Alec Baldwin create. It reminds me of a show I watched on TV many years ago. It was Peter Ustinov who was with Luciano Pavarotti. Two exciting men who had a nice and cozy conversation. it was a good show. I also enjoy your show in here. :-)

Jun. 14 2012 07:33 PM
Nancy from Seattle, WA

All I can say is "outstanding"! This interview should be heard be all. LOVE the questions and chemistry between Alec and Rene, plus the musical excerpts are beautiful.

Jun. 08 2012 01:27 PM
Joannie from L. I., N.Y.

Great interview! Renee Fleming has the voice of an angel. Her singing is heavenly! I've been a fan of hers for quite a while now. Enjoyed the interview tremendously. Keep up the Fantastic interviews. HERE'S THE THING is a Wonderful radio program. Look forward to listening to the next interview.

May. 23 2012 02:13 PM
kevin from upper LS

great interview,great insight,wonderful conversational chemistry. this one was firing on all cylinders. alec,you continue to amaze. you can lose your day job if you want,not that we want you to. and thank you ms fleming.

May. 22 2012 03:20 AM
kevin from upper LS

i believe she[ms fleming], meant to say, that the drinking age was 18, not 21. as it was in ny state, and a few others, for a brief period of time in the early seventies.

May. 22 2012 02:47 AM

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