Some occasional fluctuations do not change: the voice of Renée Fleming continues to leave me indifferent, and his singing, to be angry. In this double problem compounded last night the weight of a program incredibly boring here and there illuminated by some very rare pieces.
Greeted by a crowd of 2400 people, the blonde singer - 52 years next Valentine's Day - opened his recital with four excerpts from a book written for her by the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau on texts by Rilke. Sixteen minutes of anything as bad improvisation. Fortunately, the program gives the text and some are quite beautiful.
Of his beloved Richard Strauss, the singer seems to have tried to draw from the songs the least known and least endearing. At best, she offers a poor imitation of Schwarzkopf. The held note at the end of the second is remarkable.
The intermission came after 30 minutes, then the singer appears in a bright red dress and engages in three boring songs by Korngold. We find ourselves in familiar territory with three songs by Duparc. Not quite: the singer is wrong at the end of the sad song. Worse, perhaps to "fill" the room too big, it dramatizes this music as if it was opera and he withdraws his character and intimate.
Opera, here precisely. The singer took the microphone and entertains the audience speaking - in French only - of both Bohemia, that of Puccini and the much less known and less well, Leoncavallo, before singing excerpts from two books. The extract is made by Puccini at the outset. The problem is that the singer overload. A little restraint would produce so much effect ...
We forget the most part any Zandonai and spend recalls. The singer will give four. "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, Puccini's beautiful but extremely slow, Zueignung Strauss, Gershwin's Summertime, and yet Strauss, Morgen!.
Both Strauss are among what the composer has written the most beautiful and obviously inspired the singer who, after nearly two hours of wandering, seems to have found some stability. The voice is finally driving art. I would say it has become beautiful. After two hours ...