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Renée Fleming
Renee Fleming Considered by many to be one of the finest operatic sopranos, Renée Fleming's highly successful career has started to bring her recognition normally reserved for pop music superstars -- Anne Klein designs her dresses. She was the inspiration for Ann Patchett's award-winning novel Bel Canto. In 2004, an iris will be named in her honor.
Acclaimed for her mastery of roles in the operas of Mozart and Strauss, Fleming's latest CD release, Bel Canto, finds her returning to Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini -- the music that first inspired her to sing. For Fleming, the bel canto repertoire is among the most formidable challenges for a singer, requiring a perfect sense of line and beauty of tone throughout an extended range, a light tone in higher registers, and a flexible and fiery coloratura.

Interview with Renée Fleming
Renee Fleming -- Bel Canto
Listen to Part 1 -- Renée Fleming talks to host Fred Child about her new CD and explains why bel canto singing should be considered the music equivalent of an "exteme sport"
Listen to Part 2 -- Fleming claims that she doesn't have a natural technique and describes how she has struggled to get where she is today

In Depth

Renée Fleming interview
NPR's Liane Hansen talks with soprano Renée Fleming about her new CD Bel Canto, which includes scenes from an opera she's performing at the Met, Il Pirata (The Pirate) by Vincenzo Bellini.

Bel Canto
NPR's Susan Stamberg talks to soprano Renée Fleming and novelist Ann Patchett about the relationship between musical inspiration and the literary imagination. Patchett's novel, Bel Canto, was released in paperback by HarperCollins in April, 2002.
Originally aired in April, 2002 on Morning Edition.

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