Renée Fleming (born February 14, 1959 in Pennsylvania) is an American soprano specializing in opera and lieder. Fleming has a full (and very rare) lyric soprano voice. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka, the title role in Massenet’s Manon, the title role in Massenet’s Thaïs, the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and the title role in Arabella.
Renowned conductor Sir Georg Solti said of Fleming, “In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing, the other was Renata Tebaldi.” She has been called a living legend by countless experts in the classical music field and the BBC wrote of Fleming as “...[having] a way of finding the real emotional pulse of an aria so that it is not just an example of virtuosity accomplished, but of the human spirit vividly recreated.“ Fleming has also been hailed by The New York Times as “convincingly giving lie to those who maintain that the golden age of singing is past.” She is featured in Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag’s millenium book WOMEN focusing on the 20th century’s most influential women.