MetPlayer, the online archive performance subscription service of the Metropolitan Opera, is being made free to use for the weekend of May 1st through the 3rd. I shall not miss the Met's January 1, 2005, performance of Handel's Rodelinda starring Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, Kobie van Rensburg, and John Relyea. Though I heard it in 2004 as one of the Met's broadcasts during that sector of the season, this was the first opera I ever heard, and, though I would not know it for some years to come, Renee Fleming was the first opera singer I ever heard sing in a performance, which I am sure must have been providential to me, for I could have heard someone who made me dread the art form that I so genuinely adore.
Using a search engine to search RapidShare.com, I found two gems among their library of Renee Fleming results; one of these is part of a concert she gave in Washington, D.C., with Susan Graham entitled "The Art of French Song," and the other is a recital of Strauss and Wagner selections. I have not been yet afforded the adequate time to listen to either of these grand pieces to comment on the audio quality or the duration of the music itself, but I am looking forward to doing so soon. If one uses the search engine I have linked for you and searches for Ms. Fleming, they will find her 2003 performance of Bellini's Il Pirata from the Met. This performance is also available to hear on MetPlayer during their free weekend promotion, so you may want to hear it there, but be forewarned that you can download it through RapidShare.
I cannot wait to see Renee Fleming in Rossini's Armida when it is showcased Live in HD next season; however, I pray that Mary Zimmerman does better with it than she did this season with La Sonnambula. Renee's performance in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier also is one not to be missed next season. I hope that all of her productions are given broadcast dates. I think it would be good of the Met to offer her a revival of Rusalka sometime in the near future as well. I liked it more than I expected earlier in the broadcast season, and I wish we may hear it again shortly.
Thank you all for reading.