Artist: Renee Fleming
Title: Guilty Pleasures
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 2013
Duration: 01:02:30
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: Decca Records

The “guilty pleasures” referred to in the title of this release by American soprano Rene Fleming are Fleming’s own; they are small pieces that she has always wanted to record. Of course they require no apology at all. Even the familiar numbers, such as the Flower Duet from Dlibes’ Lakm (track 9, performed with Susan Graham), have the kind of freshness that seems impossible if you consider that Fleming has been singing them for decades. Actually some of the music is quite unusual for an orchestral-song-and-aria collection of this kind. Fleming sings in eight languages, including Occitan, and she has both the panache and the prestige to include such items as John Corigliano’s “Once there was a golden bird,” from The Ghosts of Versailles, and “Vendulka’s Lullaby” from Smetana’s rarely heard opera The Kiss. Fleming was 53 when this album was recorded, but it is mighty hard to identify any of the vocal maladies that begin to afflict sopranos of that age. Sample the chilling, silvery finale of Undine’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s early opera Undine, itself not terribly frequently performed, for confirmation. It is not only the creamy tones but the sense of fun and accomplishment that makes Fleming such a joy to listen to, and these qualities are on fully display here, ably encouraged by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sebastian Lang-Lessing.


  1. Les nuits d’été, Op.7 – 1. Villanelle – 2:12
  2. Phidylé – 6:03
  3. Ombra di nube – 3:31
  4. Siete canciones populares españolas – 5. Nana – 1:41
  5. Siete canciones populares españolas – 6. Canción – 1:10
  6. Undina – Undina’s Aria – 3:58
  7. Sumerki (Twilight), Op.21, No.3 – 2:18
  8. Les Filles de Cadix – 3:28
  9. Lakmé / Act 1 – "Sous le dôme épais" (Flower Duet) – 3:51
  10. Chants d’Auvergne – 7. La Delaissado – 5:31
  11. Chants d’Auvergne – 13. Malurous qu’o uno Fenno – 1:32
  12. Armida – "Za Štíhlou Gazelou" – 4:45
  13. The Kiss (Hubicka) – Opera in 2 Acts – Lullaby – 4:09
  14. Walzer aus Wien – “Frag mich oft” – 3:28
  15. Wesendonck Lieder – 5. Träume "Sag’, welch wunderbare Träume" – 4:33
  16. The Ghosts of Versailles / Act II – "Once There Was A Golden Bird" – 5:42
  17. "O Danny Boy" – 4:45