Music Preview: Nashville Symphony celebrates its gala opening with Renée Fleming

reneeMy interview with soprano Renée Fleming and author Ann Patchett is now out in this week’s Nashville Scene. Like many opera fans, I long thought, erroneously it turns out, that Patchett had based the character of Roxane Coss, the soprano in her 2001 novel Bel Canto, on Fleming. Patchett and Fleming set the record straight in our discussions.

Fleming is in town this week to perform with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in its gala opening concert. On Friday night, she will appear with Patchett in an informal conversation at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. That event is free, but tickets (available here) must still be reserved through the symphony’s website.

On Saturday, Fleming will appear with the Nashville Symphony under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero in a gala concert. Her wide-ranging program will include, among other things, a performance of Richard Strauss’ autumnal and bittersweet Four Last Songs. I last heard Fleming perform this masterpiece about a decade ago with the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic Orchestra (Fleming’s hometown ensemble). Her performance then was wistful and elegant, and I suspect her performance in Nashville will be just as memorable.

According to the symphony’s program book, other selections on Saturday will include “O mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, “The Sound of Music” by Rodgers and Hammerstein and “Danny Boy.” Tickets for Saturday’s concert, which are likely selling briskly, are available here.

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.