Renée Fleming - I Want Magic! ~ American Opera Arias CD
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Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 15-SEP-1998
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I USE THIS CD IN MY THERAPY OFFICE AND I HAVE SEVERAL CLIENTS SAT THAT THEY EITHER HAVE AND LOVE IT OR THEY JUST LOVE IT!!!! AS DO I!!! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!Published 20 months ago by Jimmy Bryant
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 morePublished on January 27, 2014 by Richard Prentice
Perfect, pure, ideal, flawless, immaculate, impeccable, beyond all praise , sans peur et sans reprochePublished on February 12, 2010 by Z. Henninger
AMERICAN OPERA IS NOT GRAND OPERA, AS SUCH, AND THAT'S THE KIND OF OPERA IN WHICH FLEMING'S GLORIOUS VOICE IS BEST FEATURED! Read morePublished on February 5, 2010 by George Peabody
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
'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 morePublished on April 5, 2006 by B. Marold
This recording is truly wonderful! I really feel that American composers have written some incredible things. Read morePublished on September 29, 2005 by J. Bankens
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 morePublished on September 17, 2005 by Santa Fe Listener
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 morePublished on January 19, 2005 by Deborah Silverberg