Dreamers In Moonlight: Renée Fleming Gives An Unforgettable And Towering Performance At The LA Opera

by Brent Lambert (@FEELguide)

“Tell him, silvery moon, that I am embracing him. For at least momentarily let him recall of dreaming of me.” This beautiful lyric from “Song To The Moon” from Dvořák’s opera Rusalka is a fitting tip-of-the-hat to the spirit that filled the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion last night, where for one night only, the LA Opera welcomed legendary soprano, Renee Fleming (born 1959), who performed a selection of some of her favorite arias and songs alongside her collaborator of more than two decades, German pianist Hartmut Höll. For more than an hour and a half, the beloved American soprano not only embraced us all with her remarkable gift, she cast a musical spell that took us on a remarkable journey to a musical dream state we will never forget.

Beginning with two arias from Händel and five peppy little songs from Brahms, Fleming quickly had us in the palm of her hand. Followed by two songs from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, Fleming closed the first half in a delightfully progressive tone.

Once we returned from the intermission, it was then that Fleming truly let her wings unfold. Her breathtaking rendition of Fauré’s “Clair de Lune” and “Mandoline” were followed by one of the evening’s showstoppers—her performance of “Les Feux d’Artifice t’Appellent” (tr. The Fireworks Are Calling Out To You), an aria from Rufus Wainwright’s Sunset Boulevard-esque opera, Prima Donna. If Wainwright himself were there, I’m certain the applause would have been more moving for him than any fireworks show in history.

Fleming’s tribute to Barbara Cook was also one of the night’s most cherished moments. Her rendition of Meredith Willson’s “Til There Was You” (from The Music Man) was followed by Richard Rodgers’ “I Whistle A Happy Tune” (from The King And I)—the famously perky and uplifting song which Fleming admits often brings her to tears with feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality.

She closed the official program with Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me” and her breathtaking interpretation of “Song To The Moon”, only to follow with four encores that truly brought down the house. One of the best being “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady which became a rousing sing-along in which the entire audience joined her in raising the roof.

But true to form, Fleming saved the most emotional for last. As a tribute to the innocent young immigrants who are being threatened by the current administration, Fleming dedicated her final song to them. “This one’s for the Dreamers,” she said. When the music for “Somewhere (There’s A Place For Us)” from West Side Story began, I saw several people around me overcome with emotion, heads held in their hands at what they were about to witness. As Fleming closed the night with such a markedly poignant and emotional moment, we were given a glimpse of what a perfect world feels like—a world in which music and love combine to create a moonlit embrace where all of us live in peace and harmony.

Be sure to visit www.LAopera.org to see their extraordinary program for the rest of the 2017-18 season which closes at the end of June. (Photo credits: Decca/Andrew Eccles via ReneeFleming.com)
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About The Author

Brent Lambert
IG: @FEELguide

Brent Lambert is a Los Angeles-based editor, writer, Entertainment Editor for BELLO magazine, as well as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of FEELguide.com. He also has a degree in architecture, is a Photoshop whiz, and in his spare time dabbles in set design and illustration (portfolio: unifiedFEEL.com).

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