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Renée Fleming - I Want Magic! ~ American Opera Arias

Renee Fleming , George Gershwin , Carlisle Floyd / Igor Stravinsky , Leonard Bernstein , Douglas S. Moore , Bernard Herrmann , Gian Carlo Menotti , Samuel Barber / Andre Previn , James Levine , Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Price: $13.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 1998 $11.49  
Audio CD, 1998 $13.17  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Herrmann: Wuthering Heights - opera in 4 Acts - I have dreamtJames Levine 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Moore: The Ballad of Baby Doe - The Letter SongJames Levine 3:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Menotti: The Medium - Monica's WaltzJames Levine 5:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Gershwin: Porgy and Bess - Act 1 - SummertimeNew York Voices 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Gershwin: Porgy and Bess / Act 1 - "My man's gone now"New York Voices 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Bernstein: Candide - Glitter and be gayJames Levine 6:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Floyd: Susannah - music drama in 2 Acts - Ain't it a pretty night?James Levine 6:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Floyd: Susannah - music drama in 2 Acts - The trees on the mountainJames Levine 5:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress / Act 1/Scene 3 - "No word from Tom"James Levine 8:38Album Only
listen10. Barber: Vanessa - opera in 4 Acts / Act 1 - He has not utter a word, AnatolJames Levine 6:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Previn: A Streetcar named desire - I want magicJames Levine 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo and one of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Known as “the people’s diva”, she continues to grace the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, ... Read more in Amazon's Renée Fleming Store

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Renée Fleming - I Want Magic! ~ American Opera Arias + Renée Fleming - Signatures ~ Great Opera Scenes / Sir Georg Solti + Renee Fleming - The Beautiful Voice ~ Gounod, Lehar, Orff, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Strauss
Price for all three: $40.03

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Levine
  • Composer: George Gershwin, Carlisle Floyd / Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Douglas S. Moore, Bernard Herrmann, et al.
  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000AFR4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,579 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Like Dawn Upshaw's The World So Wide on Nonesuch, this program is such an inviting cross section of American opera of the last 50 years, you wonder why more of it hasn't been recorded. Composers include Carlisle Floyd, Douglas Moore, Samuel Barber, and Gian Carlo Menotti, whose childlike "Monica's Waltz" from the otherwise lurid opera The Medium is a highlight. Old favorites are here, such as Gershwin's "Summertime." And new favorites, too: Andre Previn's forthcoming "A Streetcar Named Desire" graciously offers Straussian lushness and bitonal wind-instrument details suggesting Blanche DuBois's mind departing from reality, all sounding remarkably true to Previn's pre-World War II upbringing in Berlin. This dramatically alert arioso isn't so melodically memorable but makes all necessary dramatic points eloquently. Though she performs vividly throughout, Fleming often lets her vocal tone overwhelm articulation of the words--a middling drawback. And comedy is not her thing: Bernstein's "Glitter and Be Gay" is way too hammy. --David Patrick Stearns

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aguably my favorite collection by this singer April 17, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Renee Fleming's legacy is growing fast. Already we have at least a dozen fine recordings, including her superb Richard Strauss songs, a collection of more well-known opera arias, and her surprisingly moving work in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
This disc may be my favorite, however, mostly because it includes so many marvelous pieces that are not very well known. The opener, from Bernard Herrmann's "Wuthering Heights," is stunning. Why is this not recorded more often? (Granted, Ms. Fleming has now set the performance bar pretty high.) The two arias from Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah" are better known, but receive extra-special treatment here.
James Levine and the Met Orchestra are up to their usual high standard and could not be more sympathetic collaborators, and the sound overall is glorious.
There is not a misstep anywhere in this collection - an outstanding example of a great singer presenting a highly unusual program.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She IS magic! June 30, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Renee Fleming is simply astonishing. There is apparently little she can't sing. So much on this disc is so good it's hard to pick out highlights. Nevertheless...
The aria from Wuthering Heights that opens the disc is one I'd never heard before, and it is truly gorgeous music that suits Ms. Fleming's gorgeous voice perfectly.
I was astonished by her performance of "My Man's Gone Now." Generally, I think of Ms. Fleming as suited primarily to "lighter" voiced roles, but her performance of this aria showed beautiful darker colors. An earlier reviewer hit the nail right on the head: while I had always found the sound of Ms. Fleming's voice to be quite similar to Kiri Te Kanawa's (albeit deployed with FAR greater musicianship and intelligence), I found her sounding very much like Leontyne Price on this track.
I thoroughly enjoyed her performances of the arias from The Rake's Progress and Vanessa (oh how the latter opera calls for an up-to-date recording -- and it should feature Ms. Fleming in the title role).
The "title track" is a tasty little teaser that should make anyone want to hear -- or, better yet, see on DVD -- her performance as Blanche du Bois in Andre Previn's operatic Streetcar. Being a tremendous fan of the play and of the movie, I was dubious about this opera, but Ms. Fleming gave an even more moving portrayal of Blanche than did Vivien Leigh.
But what keeps causing me to hit the repeat button on my CD player are the arias from Susannah -- particularly "Ain't It a Pretty Night." The sheer sound of her voice in this aria is amazing. But her interpretation is astounding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All-American Fun December 31, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I love this CD. It's so incredibly American. It features American lyric soprano Renee Fleming singing American opera arias. Ms. Fleming is capably accompanied by the Met orchestra, America's best opera orchestra, conducted by another distinguished American, Maestro James Levine. The only way this CD could be more American is if it were released on July 4th, with two baseball tickets included. I'm grateful that Decca made this release.

This CD starts out very strong with a gorgeous aria "I have dreamt" from "Wuthering Heights". I've never seen this opera nor heard of this opera. If the opera is half as good as the aria, I would love to see it. Renee cruises through "The Letter Song" from "The Ballad of Baby Doe" with heartfelt interpretation. "Monica's Waltz" is not one of my favorite arias in the world, but Ms. Fleming sings it beautifully.

Here's where we depart, and the reason I gave this CD only 4 stars. First, Renee sings two arias from "Porgy and Bess": "Summertime" and "My Man's Gone Now". Renee's voice is way too rich and lush for these arias. Listen to Renee sing it, then listen to the gold standard, Leontyne Price. You'll see what I mean. Renee's rendition of "My Man's Gone Now" was just way too pretty. The score calls for some extended glissandos, which are supposed to be wails of grief. Renee sang the glissandos beautifully, but no grief was in sight. Her next choice "Glitter and Be Gay" from "Candide" is just not a good choice for her. I think even Renee would tell you that a voice like hers is just not right for Cunegonde. This aria (and role) calls for a smaller voice. [...].

Then Renee reminds me of why I love her in the first place, by returning to two arias from "Susannah", a signature role for her.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special January 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This may sound like a backhanded compliment (because it is), but there are times where it sounds as if Rene is doing Rene instead of singing the aria, and it still sounds like art instead of high brow cheese! This woman's voice is phenomenally pretty and expressive, and choosing to make a disc of American arias is not only smart in terms of marketing her voice to unfamiliar audiences outside of the opera world, but important to American opera as a whole.
In the future, I would like to hear more trust of her gift in her singing. Again, there are times, like in the Gershwin PORGY AND BESS arias and the Menotti ("Monica's Waltz"), that it sounds as if she feels the need to make it more dramatic and poigniant than what was actually written, or what would be expected of one of her talent level. Which, considering the genius of both on every turn, leaves a bit of melancholy in your heart upon intuiting it with every turn of phrase that doesn't border on but nonetheless flirts with the schmaltzy (akin to the lament that would come from watching a beautiful, wide-eyed innocent young girl dancer audition for a sleezy, casting couch Vegas manager). But that voice, and the music, make up for it, in an almost paradoxical way.
Worth owning.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT!!!!
Published 1 month ago by Jimmy Bryant
2.0 out of 5 stars she wants it but does she get it?
the magic voice cannot hide the truth that modern opera has not got much going for it. one melody in an opera is now condidered a hit . where o where is the successor to puccini? Read more
Published 8 months ago by Richard Prentice
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Fleming is beyond all
Perfect, pure, ideal, flawless, immaculate, impeccable, beyond all praise , sans peur et sans reproche
Published on February 12, 2010 by Z. Henninger
3.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan
Published on February 5, 2010 by George Peabody
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Singing, Dare I Question The Music ?
I picked this up on a whim, and for singing, I wasn't in the least disappointed.
Fleming's voice is gorgeous and despite one or two phrases here and there that don't seem to... Read more
Published on September 28, 2009 by James S. Eisenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars A great listening pleasure. Better than some other selections
'I Want Magic' sung by superstar mezzo Renee Fleming, backed by James Levine and his Metropolitan Opera Orchestra follows the same pattern of severa of Fleming's other releases, in... Read more
Published on April 5, 2006 by B. Marold
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give more than 5 stars
This recording is truly wonderful! I really feel that American composers have written some incredible things. Read more
Published on September 29, 2005 by J. Bankens
3.0 out of 5 stars This music needs a lot less diva
Renee Fleming has a glorious voice, and there's not a note here that isn't ravishing. Decca's engineers have caught the voice very well, and Levine's conducting is all it could be. Read more
Published on September 17, 2005 by Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing American opera to the forefront
American opera is not as well-known to many people because it can be complex, both musically and dramatically, and requires amazing vocal technique to sing things that sound... Read more
Published on January 19, 2005 by Deborah Silverberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
The music recorded is simply wonderful, and sadly, so much of it is so neglected. We are hearing quality music. Read more
Published on February 16, 2004
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