Concert: Renée Fleming

I knew it was going to be a bit of a treat last night when Renée Fleming walked on stage in a sensational Vivienne Westwood gown and the audience at the Barbican started cheering and carrying on. This was even before she sung a note. As she would later tell us during the course of the evening that the programme was something she was trying out with pianist Hartmut Höll and there really was something for everyone in it and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves – especially Renée.

The recital in the first half consisted of songs by Purcell and George Crumb. Fleming gave some background on why Crumb was a particular favourite of hers, noting that while as a composer he wrote rather dark moody music, in real life he is such an unassuming character he offered to fix a neighbours lawn mower (so there!). André Previn, Alban Berg and Schumann completed the second half and by the end of it all the audience was completely taken by her. It was what the punters had come for. And she is such an entertaining singer to watch.

All this fantastic singing was enough to make one get in line and wait for half an hour for her to sign one of her CDs after the concert. I wasn't the only one either. A thought I was such a groupee but the only reason he didn't join the long line up of devotees was because her Handel arias CD had sold out and Barbican staff informed everyone waiting that Ms Fleming would only be signing her merchandise that was on sale. "So she won't be signing your left buttock!" I told him. He then skulked off to the bar.  She was such a lovely person that it was worth the wait.  

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