Renée Fleming is an American soprano singer who has worked as the creative consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and had roles in the operas Le Nozze di Figaro and Othello.
She was born on February 14, 1959, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA.
Fleming grew up in Rochester, New York.
Renée began music lessons as a young child.
Both of her parents were voice teachers. She said about her childhood:
“My parents discussed singing every night over the dinner table; I had a tremendous music education.”
She attended Churchville-Chili High School under the tutelage of Rob Goodling who taught music history, theory/composition, voice, chorus, and orchestra.
Fleming studied at the Juilliard School and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the State University of New York at Potsdam.
As a college student, she was successful as a jazz vocalist.
While at the State University of New York, Fleming studied voice under Patricia Misslin, an American singer and voice teacher who has performed at many of the major opera houses and concert halls worldwide, including – Boston’s Symphony Hall, Town Hall, Merkin Hall, and Alice Tully Hall.
She made her professional debut in 1986 as Konstanze in W.A. Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Landsestheater in Salzburg.
Regarding the debut performance, the opera singer said:
“l just wasn’t ready for it. Inretrospect I’m so grateful that it happened then, when nobody cared.”
Fleming’s major break came in 1988 when she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.
Renée had her debut in 1992 with Grand Théâtre de Genève as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
By early 1998, she was booked 4 years in advance.
In 1989, Renée made her Royal Opera debut at London’s Covent Garden in Cherubini’s Médée and her NYC Opera debut as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
In 2002, Renée provided the vocals for Howard Shore’s soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King movie.
In 2005, she recorded a jazz album, named – ”Haunted Heart.”
In the follow-up year, she performed a solo concert at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with English conductor Sir Andrew Davis.
In 2008, Renée recorded Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Munich Philharmonic under Christian Thielemann.
In January 2009, she was featured in the televised – ”We Are One: The Inaugural Celebration” at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President Barack Obama.
In 2010, Fleming released – ”Dark Hope,” a collection of cover songs by many artists, including Death Cab for Cutie, Peter Gabriel, and the Jefferson Airplane.
In 2012, Renée sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts, the US’ highest honor for an individual artist. In the same year, she won a Grammy.
in 2014, the opera singer became the first classical artist to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Later that year, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Renée sang in the televised concert at the Brandenburg Gate.
In 2015, she made her Broadway debut in the comedy Living on Love, playing a narcissistic opera star.
On May 13, 2017, Renée performed the role of the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier for the last time at the Metropolitan Opera.
On September 1, 2018, she sang “Danny Boy” at the Washington National Cathedral, at the funeral service for US Senator John McCain.
In March 2019, she engrossed an MIT audience with a talk about neuroscience and music. Fleming said:
“There’s so much to learn about how and why music engages the brain, and even alters the brain.”
On November 4, 2004, Renée released a book, named – “The Inner Voice.” The book was published by Viking Penguin.
Renée Fleming got married to Richard Lee Ross in 1989. The couple divorced in 2000.
On September 3, 2011, Renée married Tim Jessell, a tax lawyer. The two met on a blind date set up by Ann Patchett, an American author.
With her first husband, the singer has two daughters:
- Sage – born 1995;
- Amelia – born 1992.
Renée is 5′ 6″ (1.68 m) tall.
”Contrary to the norm, as my technique improved my voice became higher.”
”I read voraciously all kinds of books on singing, even about the mental aspects of singing, which can often be difficult for people.”
”I do everything in the third person. Performance is about someone else.”
“I love finding interesting ways of making classical singing accessible to the rest of the world.”
”I much prefer the quiet work in the practice room to getting out in front of an audience.”
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She is an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota, an International Music Fraternity that was formed “to further the development of music in America and throughout the world” and to “uphold the highest standards of music.”
After winning a Fulbright Scholarship (one of several US Cultural Exchange Programs), Renée studied opera singing in Europe.
Fleming is a winner of the Polar Music Prize and of the Richard Tucker Award.
A portrait of the singer was created by Italian contemporary artist Francesco Clemente, who displayed the work at Salzburg’s Easter Festival in 2007.
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Renée Fleming – Net Worth
Fleming earned most of her wealth from singing. Her many DVDs and recordings have included Rossini’s Armida, Handel’s Rodelinda, and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Fleming has been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards and has won 4: in 1996, 1999, 2010, and 2013.
Her current concert and recital schedule spans the entire world, including – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Helsinki, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Barcelona. Therefore, Renée Fleming has an estimated net worth of $15 million.
Featured image source – © Guliver / Getty Images.
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