Almost without question, Renee Fleming is the world's most famous opera singer. And, on Wednesday, she'll perform in Sarasota for the first time ever.
She'll present a concert of classical music and Broadway musical numbers, accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
She's been performing with symphony orchestras around the country. Mary Bensel, Van Wezel's executive director, said Fleming was eager to perform in Sarasota because she learned that the Sarasota Orchestra's music director, Anu Tali, was a woman.
Although she's considered one of the finest sopranos in opera history, Fleming is also acclaimed for her popular work. She has recorded an album of popular songs by such artists as Leonard Cohen, Peter Gabriel and Death Cab for Cutie, and last year made her Broadway debut in "Living on Love." (Coincidentally, Asolo Repertory Theatre, just up the street from Van Wezel, is currently staging "Living on Love.") She has even made a guest appearance on "Sesame Street."
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That kind of work has helped her earned her title as "the people's diva."
Besides the concert, Fleming will be part of the orchestra's annual gala and the Van Wezel Foundation's post-performance party.
Details: 8 p.m Jan. 27, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $55-$165. Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear