As the big day approaches, here's a great article about the genesis of Renée Fleming's new CD, Dark Hope, featuring songs by The Arcade Fire, Peter Gabriel, and others. What's it like to tone down the sheer vocal power of an operatic soprano?
Kahne too wasn't sure he could pull it off. When Fleming first arrived in the studio to sing with his demo tracks, he was overwhelmed. "It was like a Ferrari going through a school zone," he said. "You sense the power, and once it gets out of the school zone, it can zoom away."
And can an old lady pull off this music written by young people?
The album's most discordant selection may be Mason's "Oxygen," a political folk-rock anthem for kids whose parents told them about Bob Dylan over dinner. A one-two beat propels such lyrics as "Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy, makeup and hair to the truth behind every face." The song's naked earnestness makes sense when you learn Mason wrote "Oxygen" when he was 17 in high school.
Can a 51-year-old get away with singing a teenager's protest song about Ritalin, TV and war?
"This is not new to me," Fleming said. "I'm mostly singing roles of 16- to 23-year-olds in opera. So I'm used to imagining a young person's point of view. Frankly, as we age, we don't change our thinking about wishing things were different. We're just more resigned to it. So it's fun to reenact what it means to be super-charged-up about something."
You're only as old as you feel, right? The CD is released in the U.S. tomorrow. I can't wait! Although I'll have to because Amazon hasn't shipped the dang thing yet. Hmpf!
"Renee Fleming rocks out on 'Dark Hope'" (Los Angeles Times)