On Air Now
Smooth Classics with Margherita Taylor 10pm - 1am
23 August 2018, 11:28 | Updated: 29 August 2018, 10:33
Renée Fleming is an operatic soprano whose clear, beautiful voice has captured the hearts of millions. From her performance of the national anthem at the Superbowl to her upcoming role in ‘Bel Canto’ and her performance of ‘Danny Boy’ at John McCain’s funeral, here’s everything you need to know.
Renée Fleming is a celebrated American soprano whose signature roles include the Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Discover more about her in our fact gallery.
Renée’s first major break came in 1988 when she sang the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera. She followed this with debuts at the New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 1991, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut. In 1997, Fleming sang her first Manon at the Opéra Bastille to glowing reviews.
In 2014, Renée Fleming took to the turf with a magnificent operatic take on ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. It was the first time a classical singer had been asked to perform the US national anthem at the Super Bowl.
In 1999, 2003, 2010 and 2013, Renée won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Voice Solo. She was nominated in the category in three other years. Renée was also awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts, as well as being named Singer of the Year by the German ECHO Klassik Awards.
Renée Fleming has a net worth of around $12million (that's about £9million). Today, she is one of the most successful working opera singers, and has released a number of successful albums including ‘Verismo‘, for which she was awarded the Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Classical Vocal Performance.
Renée was born Renée Lynn Fleming on 14 February 1959 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Rochester, New York. She enjoyed a happy suburban childhood, starting singing lessons at an early age with her singing teacher parents.
Renée studied at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York where she flirted with the idea of becoming a jazz singer before continuing her studies at New York's Juilliard.
Renée has been married twice. She married actor Rick Ross in 1989, and they had two daughters together, Amelia and Sage. The couple divorced in 2000. 11 years later, Renée married corporate lawyer Tim Jessell, whom she met on a blind date.
This September, Renée will be the singing voice for Julianne Moore in the new hostage film Bel Canto. But this isn’t the first time her voice has been used in Hollywood. In 2017, she sang on The Shape of Water soundtrack, and she has previously featured on the soundtracks to Now You See Me 2 (2016) and Closer (2004).
At Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration in 2009, Renée sang an affecting operatic take on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, backed by the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club. The pair met again when Obama presented the singer with a 2012 National Medal of Arts for her contribution to American music.
Although she’s best known for her work in opera, Renée has branched into jazz and even indie-rock. In 2010, Renée released an album of covers called Dark Hope, on which she covered ‘Intervention’ by Arcade Fire, ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ by Band of Horses and ‘Soul Meets Body’ by Death Cab For Cutie.
Renée Fleming will sing ‘Danny Boy’ at the late US senator John McCain's funeral, at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday (1 September). McCain, who died of brain cancer on Saturday (25 August), had requested that Fleming sing the song, according to her manager, Dannielle Thomas.“She is very honoured,” Thomas told the Democrat and Chronicle. “It’s going to be a beautiful service.”