RSPO/Oramo/Chineke!/Edusei review – rounded, exquisite, played to perfection

Photo: Mark Allan

By Martin Kettle, The Guardian

A stellar performance by Renée Fleming and the first appearance at the Albert Hall by the BAME Chineke! Orchestra made Proms 61 and 62 a privilege to attend.

After the interval, Fleming reappeared to confirm that she still possesses one of the great Strauss soprano voices of any era. In the closing scene from the composer’s 1937 one-act “bucolic tragedy” Daphne, the soprano bids farewell to the world by becoming a laurel tree, singing wordlessly in the work’s final pages, an effect achieved by Fleming going off stage to sing from afar rather than by a challenging costume change. But after each of the advertised pieces there was also an appropriate encore: Barber’s Sure on This Shining Night, also an Agee setting and perfect for where Fleming’s voice now lies, and Strauss’s Morgen, exquisite calling card of so many great singers.

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