Prom 61: Renée Fleming sings Barber and Strauss
First the rant: BBC titling this concert as “Renée Fleming sings Strauss” was a stupid marketing trick. Trick because Fleming was singing more Barber than Strauss and stupid because everyone knew it. People could though “oh, she is singing the Last Four Lieder” while looking at the Proms listing but no more.
Beside that, the programme was quite interesting: Oramo’s other orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra playing a vocal work by Barber that Fleeming included on her last album, some not so frequent Strauss operatic scene and Nielsen’s 2nd symphony.
The concert started with local premiere of a work from Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi. Typical commission to cover the national quota. Nothing really interesting but pleasant. Then we got Mrs Fleeming on stage. She is a really intelligent singer a now that she is retiring from opera houses she is also switching her concert programmes to something different. An example was this Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Beautiful piece and sung exquisitely and delicately. Oramo followed her properly, although the orchestra made a couple of significant mistakes. Before the intermission the first encore: another Barber song. Audience was happy.
The second part started again with Renée Fleming on stage singing Strauss’s Daphne transformation scene. And this scene ended with Fleming out of the stage, as she walked away to make the scene performance more real an operatic. It was very nice although we didn’t have time to enjoy enough her singing: half of the scene is orchestral music (that at least Oramo exposed quite properly). To continue with the small bites of beauty the encore was another short piece of delicious music: Morgen
Then, without Fleming anymore, the serious stuff of the concert arrived: Nielsen Symphony No. 2. It is easy to understand why this is the composer most beloved symphony among the general audience: it’s easy (somehow traditional) and brilliant. Oramo and the RSPO did a very good job here. Loved it.