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Gerald Carpenter: CAMA Brings Back Soprano Renée Fleming

She'll perform with pianist Gerald Martin Moore at The Granada

The Community Arts Music Association is bringing the remarkable soprano Renée Fleming to The Granada at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Her longtime collaborator, pianist Gerald Martin Moore, will provide instrumental support.

Fleming’s program will provide ample scope for her luscious voice and uncanny musical insight.

She will sing works by Olivier Messiaen (four songs from Poèmes pour Mi), Jules Massenet (the aria J’ai versé le poison dans cette coupe d’or from the opera Cléopâtre), Henri Dutilleux (four songs from Le temps l’horloge), Richard Strauss (the songs “Verführung,” “Freundliche Vision,” “Ständchen,” “Winterweihe” and “Zueignung”), Ruggero Leoncavallo (Angioletto, il tuo nome? from the opera Zazà, the song Musette svaria sulla bocca viva, and Mimì Pinson, la biondinetta from the opera La Bohème), Umberto Giordano (the aria Nel suo amore rianimata from his 1903 opera Siberia) and Riccardo Zandonai (the aria Ier dalla fabbrica a Triana from Conchita).

If anyone has misgivings about this program, I would imagine that they concern the songs of Messiaen (1908-92), who was definitely an oddball. Nevertheless, if that same anyone was present at The Arlington Theatre a couple of years ago to hear Fleming hold the packed house spellbound with her rendering of Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs, he or she would never doubt her ability to find the beautiful music inside the most problematic modern text.

In any case, the songs are probably short and may remind you of birdsong. Giordano and Zandonai, like Leoconvallo, are simply popular Italian opera composers of the Age of Puccini. Strauss, of course, wrote many gorgeous songs, not just the “Four Last” ones. If you have never heard anything of Massenet, I venture to say that you’re not thinking of attending Fleming’s recital anyway.

The French regard Dutilleux, born in 1916, as the legitimate heir of the tradition of Debussy, Ravel and Roussel — more the last, I should think, than the first two.

Like Roussel, Dutilleux is more of an expressionist than an impressionist. Whatever your opinion of his songs, I will bet that you don’t find them ambivalent or vague. Since he is still alive, he is not very well-known in this country, at least, not on the West Coast. When Charles Munch was music director of the Boston Symphony, he used to program Dutilleux’s works occasionally.

Tickets are available from the Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222, or click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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