Soprano Renée Fleming is happy to be back on the Heinz Hall stage performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m so glad that Gran Maestro [Manfred] Honeck is still there, because when you have a conductor of his caliber over time, the orchestra just gets better and better,” she says. “It should be really fun to hear how everybody sounds and how the artistry that I’m sure I’m going to experience again will be even heightened.”
The Indiana, Pa. native and Tony Award nominee last performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for its annual season opening gala in 2010. She returns this Saturday (Sept. 15) for this year’s gala, titled “Voyage at Sea: A Passage to the Mediterranean.”
The gala is the largest fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Donations from it fund learning and community programs, like school-time concerts, sensory-friendly performances and therapeutic live performances in Pittsburgh-area hospitals.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Gala. 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. $35-$110 (concert-only). $200-$750 (pre- or post-concert activities and concert). Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412-392-4900 or pittsburghsymphony.org
The program begins in Spain with Manuel Ponce’s “Estrellita” (My Little Star) and Carlos Castellano Gomez’s “La Morena di me Copla.” Then, the audience is transported to Italy with “Casta Diva” from Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” and “Mattinata” Ruggero Leoncavallo.
“The program is kind of neat because there’s a lot of variety in it, and they developed a theme, which I thought was interesting,” Fleming says.
Fleming will then sing selections from popular films, including “Tis the Last Rose of Summer” from Friedrich von Flotow’s “Martha,” also included in the opening scene of 2017’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “You’ll Never Know,” which she recorded for Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.” Later this year, she will perform as the singing voice of Roxane, played by Julianne Moore, in the film adaptation of the 2001 bestselling novel “Bel Canto.”
“That’s kind of a fun, unusual gathering of objects that all occurred this year,” she says.
Along with Fleming’s pieces, PSO Music Director and Conductor Manfred Honeck leads the PSO through five selections: Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide Overture”; Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso”; Gioacchino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” Overture; and Camille Saint-Saens’ “Bacchanale” from “Samson and Delilah.”
Between visiting family and the places she knew as a child, the singer considers this concert a homecoming.
“It’s kind of perfect. I always love coming here,” Fleming says.
Amanda Reed covers fine arts for the Pittsburgh Current. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org