Song to the Moon

full moonFour-time Grammy Award winning opera singer Renee Fleming will be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl this coming weekend. You may remember her singing (yes, singing) David Letterman’s Top Ten list on The Late Show last year. She also appeared at the Obama Inaugural Celebration in 2009 and at Ground Zero after the September 11th attacks.

I performed with the Virginia Symphony when Fleming came to Norfolk about ten years ago and I found her to be one of the most gracious and down-to-earth celebrities I have ever encountered…a humble superstar who was there to serve the music. No wonder she’s earned the nickname “the people’s Diva.”

Let’s listen to Renee Fleming sing Song to the Moon from Act 1 of Antonín Dvořák’s opera, Rusalka. The opera is based on a Czech fairy tale with roots deep in Slavic mythology. Rusalka is a water nymph who has fallen in love with a prince who came to swim in her lake. In order to be with the prince she must be transformed into a human. The aria captures Rusalka’s feelings of sadness, despair and longing for a love which is out of reach. You can read the synopsis of the complete opera here. Watch an English language performance here.

This performance is from the 2010 Last Night of the Proms at Royal Albert Hall in London:

Could you feel the drama of the scene expressed in Dvořák’s music? This is essentially what opera is all about. It takes us out of the literal world, where singing characters and far out story lines seem ridiculous, and plunges us into the world of metaphor. Most of us can’t relate to nymphs and princes, but we can all relate to Rusalka’s character on a human level. Drama which unfolds musically opens the door to a complex mix of deep emotions.

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4 Responses to Song to the Moon

  1. Mary McGagh January 27, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    I first heard “Rusalka” performed by the Boston Lyric Opera in 2009, and I was unexpectedly delighted with the music and the performance.

    I have seen Renée Fleming many times both in recital and at the opera, most recently in a dual recital with Susan Graham at Symphony Hall, Boston, under the aegis of Celebrity Series.

    I will look forward to hearing Ms Fleming sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 2nd.

  2. Linda Hardwick January 27, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    I absolutely adore that song! I hope to hear my daughter sing it one day – she is a Postgraduate student at RCM in London. I have never seen the opera – it sounds beguiling. Thanks. Linda

  3. tombrandartist February 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    As much as I love Renee Fleming, I think Lucia Popp is better.
    Tom Brand

  4. Mary McGagh February 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    I have heard Lucia Popp only on a youtube, and the video is beautiful. Indeed, I added it to my blog.

    However, I do think Anna Netrebko, who sang the Olympic Anthem at the Opening Ceremony in Sochi, will soon be the super star of sopranos. I saw Ms Netrebko in Met productions of “Romeo and Juliette” a few years ago, and more recently, last fall, in “Eugene Onegin.”

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