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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


(Renée Fleming – photo credit: DECCA/Andrew Eccles)

World Renowned Soprano Renée Fleming to sing in South Africa

Renée Fleming, one of the most celebrated and prominent sopranos of the 21st century will perform with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra during her first ever tour in South Africa. She will appear exclusively with the Orchestra in the Durban City Hall on August 27, at the State Theatre in Pretoria on August 29, and in the Cape Town City Hall on September 1.

This major artistic coup for South Africa was announced by Mr Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, at a media function in Johannesburg today.

As “the people’s diva,” renowned soprano Renée Fleming continues to charm audiences throughout the world with her superb vocal intelligence, exquisite musical grace, and voice of “liquid gold.” Her artistry has taken her to the world’s capitals and great opera houses, captivating audiences everywhere she goes. On the heels of performing at London’s Covent Garden in La Traviata and filming in the palaces of St. Petersburg, Renée Fleming comes to South Africa for these performances with Africa’s premier orchestra.

“I have had the privilege of performing around the world on a variety of stages and at prestigious events. The thought of performing to the backdrop of majestic mountains and mingling with your diverse cultures, accompanied by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, fills me with anticipation,” said Ms. Fleming in a message to her South African public, released at the media launch.

On September 22, 2008, the Metropolitan Opera celebrated her in their Opening Night Gala, with additional appearances at the Metropolitan Opera this season in Massenet’s Thaïs and Dvořák’s Rusalka. These high profile productions were screened in cinemas worldwide as part of the Met’s phenomenally successful Live in HD series. The soprano was also one of the company’s celebrity hosts in other productions screened globally during this past season.

Last year, Coty launched La Voce by Renée Fleming, her first ever fragrance with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to this honour, Renée Fleming has had The Renée Fleming Iris named after her and replicated in porcelain by Boehm, as well as a dessert, La Diva Renée, by famed chef Daniel Boulud.

A two-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming’s most recent CD is Strauss: Four Last Songs, conducted by Christian Thielemann. She is also the author of The Inner Voice, an intimate account of her career and creative process. Among her numerous awards are Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and a 2003 honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School, where she was also commencement speaker.

Mr Tembe, an accomplished Juilliard School graduate, expressed his delight at the prospect of presenting an artist of Ms Fleming’s stature in South Africa: “We are deeply honoured that Renée Fleming has agreed to perform in our country under the aegis of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic. Her performances will promote excellence in the arts, as well as contribute to the development of talented young South African artists through the planned master class and other community engagement initiatives.”

Ms Fleming’s concert programme for her South African tour will feature a number of her signature operatic arias, including, Visi d’arte from Puccini’s Tosca and O mio babbino caro from his Gianni Schicchi, and Summertime from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Also, on a light hearted note, I could have danced all night from the much loved musical, My Fair Lady.

Her tour will mark her first visit to South Africa since 1984 when, at the very start of her career, she was a prize-winner in the UNISA International Singing Competition in Pretoria.

Tickets will be on sale from June 1 through Computicket on 083 915 8000. For further information and for regular updates log onto (or link through from the advert on the main artSMart pages). Then click on the Renée Fleming icon, or call the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra on 031 369 9438.