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‘Guilty Pleasures’ is an album of sheer indulgence: the beautiful voice of Renee Fleming in a new and very personal selection of songs and arias featuring a feast of music, much of which we might never hear her sing on stage. For our pleasure she has chosen to record many famous arias from roles which are not normally associated with her repertoire: romantic highlights from operas by Dvorak, Smetana and Tchaikovsky among many others.
Renee Fleming is unique not only for her radiant voice and masterful technique, but also for the exceptional stylistic diversity and musical curiosity that distinguish her career. It's difficult to imagine any other artist today possessing the sense of adventure needed to gather together the wide-ranging collection of arias and songs heard in this set. After her previous album, Poemes, with its focus on French concert repertoire, Fleming has gone in an altogether different direction, giving herself the joy of musical cherry-picking. Singing in no fewer than eight languages, both opera arias and songs, the soprano is presenting music she views as “guilty pleasures”. “Some of these treasures are culled from larger works — there is the guilt! The pleasure, of course, is the chance to revel in the unabashed beauty that is the shared attribute of these melodies and their texts.”
Two twentieth-century American composers offer the chance for Fleming to sing in her native tongue –the Irish folksong "Danny Boy" and John Corigliano’s "The Ghosts of Versailles". Susan Graham joins Renee for the celebrated Flower Duet from Lakme. Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra in a program that ranges from Berlioz via Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Smetana, Wagner and Rachmaninov to Canteloube, Delibes and Massenet