Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden (1874-1967) portrayed Goethe's character Gretchen, known as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust.
October 19, 2014 On Oct. 19, 1814, an Austrian teenager named Franz Schubert wrote "Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel," a boldly innovative song that remains an inspiration for singers and songwriters.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/352513546/357341865" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979.
Ron Scherl/Redferns/Getty Images
September 8, 2014 The intensely expressive Italian singer had an unusually long career. "I always have the sense that when I hear her recordings that she's singing just for me," says soprano Renée Fleming.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/160886605/347151242" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Madama Butterfly is one of many unhappy moms in opera.
Patrick Riviere/Getty Images
May 8, 2014 Mothers in opera tend to be, well, operatic — stressed, dramatic, expressive. Try identifying the manic moms in this Mother's Day puzzler.
From taffeta to tackles: Soprano Renee Fleming has been tapped to sing at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Karin Cooper/Courtesy of Washington National Opera
January 21, 2014 We won't guess what her odds were, but it's superstar soprano Renee Fleming.
Andrew Eccles/Courtesy of the artist
December 13, 2013 The opera star sings some of her favorite songs, from Schubert to Joni Mitchell's "River," and performs a Gershwin tune with host Michael Feinstein.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/250746227/250711339" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Reneé Fleming (right) and Susan Graham — two "cheerful Americans" often mistaken for each other — are planning an intimate evening of French song.
Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging
January 23, 2013 Two opera stars conjure the intimate atmosphere of the late 19th-century Parisian salon, telling stories and singing songs by Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Debussy.
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein has a passion for rhythmically free musical lines.
Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist
April 13, 2011 The mild-mannered pianist is fiercely devoted to expressing rhythmical freedom in the musical line. Hear her pick favorite recordings by artists who share her aesthetic, from Wilhelm Furtwangler to Tift Merritt.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/135378522/135359022" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
December 18, 2009 Marian McPartland and her guests from seasons past share their favorite memories when they're not performing Christmas classics and original holiday tunes. Guest artists include George Shearing, Tony DeSare, Renee Fleming, Cleo Brown and Dena DeRose.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/121567490/121554889" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
December 18, 2008 Renee Fleming, Mimi Fox, Blossom Dearie and Suzanna McCorkle join Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland to celebrate the season with new holiday recordings. McPartland also reprises her improvised score to the classic O. Henry story, The Gift of the Magi.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/17358732/98192763" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Verdi trumps Shakespeare by inserting a hauntingly beautiful "Ave Maria" into his operatic version of Othello.
December 4, 2008 When Verdi set out to make Othello into an opera, he didn't worry about getting Shakespeare absolutely right. Rob Kapilow unveils Verdi's inappropriate yet vividly dramatic makeover of one seemingly innocent scene.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/94295459/97822180" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
October 17, 2008 Anne-Sophie Mutter is one of the busiest musicians around, complete with new recordings, new pieces to premiere and seemingly endless concert tours. But when she's relaxing at home in Germany, she lists Ella Fitzgerald and La Bohème among her musical favorites.
October 4, 2008 Four Last Songs, by German composer Richard Strauss, is a song cycle marked by the awareness and acceptance of death. A new recording captures world-famous soprano Renee Fleming as she sings his last pieces for a second time — this time with a new direction.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/95103530/95415783" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
December 7, 2006 Today's leading diva, Renee Fleming, pays homage to divas of an earlier era. Fleming talks about the sopranos who have inspired her, and explains some of the secrets that made them so incredible.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/6592289/18829161" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
June 3, 2005 Lyric soprano Renée Fleming is a familiar face on the world's greatest opera stages, but on her latest CD, Haunted Heart, she makes a leap to the worlds of jazz, pop and folk. She talks with NPR's Fred Child about her foray into non-operatic territory.
January 26, 2005 Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two new albums of Handel arias by opera singers Renee Fleming and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (on the Universal and Avie labels).
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/4466666/4466667" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor