Renee Fleming To Wear Fashions By Designers John Galliano

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Three of the world’s top fashion designers will create costumes for Renee Fleming for the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night gala on Monday, September 22. Fashion legends John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel will each design costumes for the star soprano, who will sing three of her most acclaimed roles in fully staged selections from Verdi’s La Traviata (Act II), Massenet’s Manon (Act III), and Strauss’s Capriccio (final scene).

“Working with the design masters Galliano, Lacroix, and Lagerfeld is an absolute thrill. Their sense of poetry in motion is a total complement to the music that I will be singing,” says Renee Fleming.

The gala performance marks the first time that the renowned designers have designed costumes for the Met.

French-born designer Christian Lacroix will create two dresses for Fleming in the role of Violetta, one for each scene in the second act of Verdi’s La Traviata. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel will design the dress for Manon. For the final scene from Capriccio, Fleming will wear a creation by John Galliano.

Tenors Ramon Vargas and baritones Thomas Hampson and Dwayne Croft will join the soprano for this performance, conducted by Music Director James Levine, Marco Armiliato, and Patrick Summers. The performance will be shown live in high-definition in movie theaters throughout North America as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.

Although it is now noteworthy for fashion designers to create costumes for the Met stage, there is a long tradition of prima donnas wearing costumes made for them by the great couturiers of the past. Such legendary divas as Nellie Melba, Marcella Sembrich, Emma Eames, Rosa Ponselle, Lily Pons, and Helen Traubel engaged the famous fashion designers of their day (such as Worth of Paris, Valentina, and Adrian of Hollywood) to create special costumes for their Met appearances.

About Renee Fleming at the Met

One of opera’s most glamorous and popular stars, Renee Fleming has sung in five new production premieres at the Met, four of which were operas that had never been given by the company. This year’s gala premiere will be the American diva’s fifth season-opening performance at the Met. On opening night of the 1995 season, she sang Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, opposite Placido Domingo. To open the 2000 season, she sang the role of Donna Anna in a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and in 2002, she was Desdemona in Act IV of Otello for the opening night gala of staged scenes. In 2003, Fleming opened the season as Violetta Valery in Verdi’s La Traviata.

Renee Fleming has sung 18 roles and more than 150 performances with the Met, as well as numerous concerts with the Met Orchestra. In addition to the opening night performance, she will appear in the title role of a new production of Massenet’s Thais and in the title role of Dvorak’s Rusalka this season at the Met. Thais will be shown live in high-definition in movie theaters worldwide on December 20.

Fleming was added to Mr. Blackwell’s Best Dressed list in 2001, and many of the world’s top designers have created couture fashions for her, both onstage and off. They include the late Gianfranco Ferre, Issey Miyake, Bill Blass, Vivienne Westwood, Angel Sanchez, Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano for Dior, and now Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Christian Lacroix.

Coty Inc. has created a new fragrance, La Voce Renee Fleming, in honor of the singer; the launch of the opulent fragrance coincides with the Met’s opening night gala, and a portion of the sales proceeds will be donated to the opera company.

As a frequent host for the intermission features of The Met: Live in HD series of worldwide transmissions, Fleming has added another talent to her list of accomplishments. She has interviewed such famous colleagues as James Levine, Anna Netrebko, and Karita Mattila in the course of these live backstage features.

A two-time Grammy winner, Fleming is also the recipient of Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur from the French government; Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and a 2003 honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School. -- www.metoperafamily.org

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