Van Wezel

Renee Fleming to perform at Van Wezel in Sarasota

SARASOTA -- The world's most famous opera singer is coming to Sarasota for the first time ever.

Renee Fleming will perform a concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on Jan. 27. She'll perform a concert of classical music and songs from Broadway musicals.

Mary Bensel, Van Wezel's executive director, has been trying to schedule Fleming for several years, but the timing never worked out until now.

Fleming, who has been performing with orchestras around the country, was especially interested in performing in Sarasota when she learned that she could perform with the Sarasota Orchestra and conductor Anu Tali.

"She loves supporting women conductors," Bensel said.

Besides the concert, Fleming will be part of the orchestra's annual gala and the Van Wezel Foundation's post-performance party.

Although she's considered one of the finest sopranos in the history of opera, Fleming - who has been called "the people's diva" -- has also appeared on Broadway (in "Living on Love,") earlier this year. She has appeared on "Sesame Street" and recorded an album of popular songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Peter Gabriel and Death Cab for Cutie.

Her Sarasota concert will include classical and popular selections, Bensel said.

Tickets for the concert go on sale Sept. 12.

Details: 8 p.m Jan. 27, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $55-$165. Information: 941-953-3368,