When news hit that Renée Fleming was recording an indie rock album, my first reaction was:
But then I told myself to keep an open mind. It’s not often that an idea as unlikely as this one gets green-lighted, and if Fleming faltered, the album would join a large pile of failed classical crossovers. She didn’t falter, and the album, Dark Hope, became one of my favorite of the year.
When I saw Fleming would perform three tracks from Dark Hope with the Seattle Symphony, I bought tickets, despite some initial reluctance over the price. I wasn’t disappointed.
Of course, I don’t listen to much classical vocal music, let alone opera. So I can’t comment how well she interpreted Maurice Ravel’s Sheherezade, or various arias from Franz Lehár, Charles Gounod or Erich Korngold.
Fleming, however, is a modern music advocate, probably not as fiercely as Dawn Upshaw, but the program she sang at Benaroya Hall on March 16 included works as recent as 2007. On that, I can comment.