PROM 61 Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Sakari Oramo, soprano Renee Fleming Royal Albert Hall, London SW7
AS leader of the pack of Renee Fleming fanatics, I can happily claim her singing at Prom 61 last week was the highlight of this year’s Proms.
Dressed in a pale mushroom coloured crinoline, her extraordinary voice was not supplied by any discernible amplification. She sang Samuel Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 and Strauss’s Daphne – Transformation Scene, but I had forgotten the power and purity that filled the Hall’s colossal space.
Her pitch is so easily perfect, her high notes, and I mean high, are so clear and clean they seem to come from another world. The Fleming voice gives a brand new meaning to the word ‘music’.
Swedish born Andrea Tarrodi’s Liguria received a warm reception for its UK premiere. A descriptive piece, it sounds an honest effort to give the audience something to enjoy – a welcome sentiment in today’s frenzy to show off.
Carl Nielson’s Second Symphony was a triumph and a neat piece of programming it was, too. An appropriately bouncy opening whisked us back to reality after the other worldly Renee Fleming and the Royal Stockholm was superb as they made the most of Neilson’s meaty orchestrations.
An occasional hint of eternity never did anyone any harm and this is what classical music is all about, heartrending pleasure.