Monday, May 11, 2015

Renée Fleming Gives Revealing Gotham Interview To Vera Wang

RF: You know what’s interesting for me—I don’t know if you feel this way—but I have this need to keep things fresh. My inspiration, in a way, is Joni Mitchell, because she would do these albums that were different; she went to jazz, to rock, and she would completely reinvent herself. I loved it. I know she would complain that she lost audience who only wanted the same thing, but I’m an artistic person, and I recognized her search. You have to do that every time you do a show. When I see your shows, I always wonder how you keep coming up with new ideas.
VW: Well, it’s very difficult; I can’t say it isn’t. Some seasons are better than others, but it’s an excruciating process! Bringing up some insane audiences that you have sung for—you have performed at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and also for President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. I just wonder: Do you feel extra pressure at these events?

RF: I really love doing these events because it is so exciting to be a part of history. In a way, it’s much more satisfying than having to sing in front of a core opera audience that is super critical—I find that much harder. In our field, we are criticized in the paper every time we perform, but there is also the blogger world now….
VW: Same thing in fashion today. Anyone can write anything they want about you, whether they are qualified or not.

RF: I think there is a tremendous misogyny towards women, especially with those of us who have public lives. One year, I saw two weeks of tabloid articles about Madonna’s hands. I just thought, What is this world we are living in?
VW: Do you run into a lot of good and bad things about being high-profile in New York?
RF: New York is no problem for me, unless I’m around Lincoln Center; people are so respectful and wonderful about what I do. You probably have a lot, though.

VW: I had dinner with you once at Sant Ambroeus, and I remember a very big patron of The Met came over and bowed in front of you at the table [Laughs]. I believe it was Bruce Wasserstein, and he wasn’t a man to bow in front of anyone. So I was very impressed that night.
RF: That’s not an every-evening event, I have to say. Maybe I should pay someone to follow me into restaurants and bow. That’s something Raquel, my character [in the play], would do.
VW: With all the accolades you have received, does it ever get old?
RF: Accolades never get old [Laughs]. It’s never enough, because those of us who are hugely self-critical, and I know you are as well, are always thinking things are not good enough and that you have to be better. It’s part of our nature to always be searching for something better, and no accolade from outside can change that.  [Source]
Read the full interview by clicking here. Watch a video of the photo shoot, complete with narration from Renée Fleming, after the jump.

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