The life of an opera star is no bed of roses. You are born with a voice that you then try to mould into an instrument that will always obey you. Throughout your life, you work on your technique, take language and acting lessons and you keep your body in shape because appearance is also very important, especially for a woman. And should you not only be wanting a career but also a family life, then things get tough. No wonder that at some point you start to question what is most important in your life and where your priorities really lie.
In the wonderful documentary by Tony Palmer (the maker of more wonderful documentaries, just think of the film about Maria Callas), Renée Fleming, one of the greatest opera singers of our time, talks at length about her fears and doubts. We see her during rehearsals and performances, we admire her dresses, watch home videos showing an apparently happy family life and wipe away a tear listening to her rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ at Ground Zero.
At the presentation of a new creation from the master pastry chef: a chocolate treat called ‘La Diva Renée’, we get slightly moved. And she well deserves it.
Renée Fleming Film by Tony Palmer Decca 0741539
Renée Fleming sings Berg, Wellesz and Zeisl. A must buy!