Fleming gives what young singers need
By Sarah Bryan Miller
Post-Dispatch Classical Music Critic
Sunday, Nov. 28 2004
“The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer”
By Renee Fleming
Published by Viking; 222 pages; $24.95
This is the book I needed when I was a young singer, but never found. Here, at last, is a book about the life of an opera singer that goes into the things one really needs to know: How do you get started? How do you find a teacher? What should you sing for auditions? How do you handle the important-but-usually-ignored-until-it’s-too-late business side? How do you manage a family life?
Renee Fleming, the reigning soprano of our day, looked in vain for something like “The Inner Life” when she was coming up. “I searched for such a long time for the book I wanted to read that finally I decided my only recourse was to try to write it myself,” she says in the introduction. “What I came up with in the end was not the story of my life, but the autobiography of my voice.”
It’s an important distinction. You will search this book in vain for catty comments about colleagues; Fleming’s even generous to uberdiva Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, who was famously cruel to her in a series of master classes. There are clearly things she dislikes about the business, but one must do a certain amount of reading between the lines to figure out some of them. Brava, diva.
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The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer
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