Renée Fleming & Evgeny Kissin at Carnegie Hall

A selection of songs and piano pieces by Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Duparc

Renée Fleming (soprano) & Evgeny Kissin (piano)

Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 31 May, 2023
Venue: Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York City

In this exquisite recital Renée Fleming and Evgeny Kissin came together in a carefully curated program showcasing Romantic song along with a selection of piano solos.

The soprano was wonderfully fresh voiced in the opener, Schubert’s ‘Suleika 1’. Combining vocal refinement, stunning phrasing and articulate delivery, she most effectively conveyed the anticipation of meeting her lover, while the piano conjured up her excited heartbeat, a dramatic contrast to the selections that immediately followed: a poignant ‘Lied de Mignon’ and a painfully frenzied ‘Rastlose Liebe’, both enhanced by Kissin’s superbly judged accompaniments.

Next came two piano pieces by Liszt, in which Kissin’s playing was less consistent. After an entrancing ‘Sposalizio’ with its shimmering, delicately arpeggios, the first ‘Valse oubliée’ – in which the composer fragments elements of the Viennese waltz – came across as less than ideally ironic and fantastical.

Fleming luxuriated in three Liszt settings. She was highly dramatic in the emotional extremes of the soaring ‘Freudvoll und Leidvoll’, peaceful in ‘Uber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh’, and at her lyrical best in ‘Im Rhein, im schönen Ströme’, enriched by Kissin’s shimmering figurations.

Following intermission came five pieces by Rachmaninoff, both versions of ‘Lilacs’ – the familiar transcription for piano, followed by the song that inspired it, the diva’s focused and richly expressive rendering seemed to embody the protagonist of the text, as she recalled the fresh fragrances and her happiness among the flowers. Kissin’s sparkling work in ‘A Dream” set the stage for two selections from Morceaux de fantaisie, Opus 3 –  a serenely reflective ‘Mélodie’ and a vibrantly whirling ‘Sérénade’.

Then more Liszt – in French, verse by Victor Hugo. In ‘S’il est un charmant gazon’ the soprano’s warm vocal line and the pianist’s ardent accompaniment melted into each other to suggest the rapture felt in a sweet dream of love. In ‘Oh! Quand je dors’ Kissin’s delicate and tactful support augmented the romantic feeling while keeping the focus on Fleming’s resplendent voice.

Duparc songs concluded the program: an emotionally powerful ‘Extase’ and a decidedly dramatic ‘Le Manoir de Rosemonde’, which gave way to an encore: a breathtaking interpretation of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’, sung not with the words set by the composer (from a poem by Sir Walter Scott), but with the more familiar sacred text in Latin.

This was an extraordinarily beautiful recital. While both artists demonstrated their sizeable strengths, they were plainly on the same expressive page, complementing each other and the music with mesmerizing performances.

1 thought on “Renée Fleming & Evgeny Kissin at Carnegie Hall”

  1. Дух музыки

    Есть бытие особого состава.
    Там мир забот обужен и забыт.
    Там музыка, прекрасна, величава,
    Над поданными душами царит.

    Там горним воздухом свободы,
    Всей грудью сладостно дыша,
    Под голубые неба своды
    Взлетает радостно душа.

    Рулады голоса и плеск клавиатуры
    Гармонией полнят родной эфир –
    Строй страстных чувств и строй земной натуры,
    Соединенный мир.

    Стихия слов поэзии высокой,
    Мелодий романтический распев
    В распахнутое зала око
    Летят, судьбу преодолев.


    Посвящается совместному выступлению Евгения Кисина и Рене Флеминг в Карнеги Холл 31 Мая 2023 г.
    И им в ответ в духовной жажде
    Все открываются сердца,
    Как откровенье в жизни каждой,
    Как благодарность без конца!

    Spirit of music

    There is a special composition.
    There, the world of worries is burdened and forgotten.
    There’s music, beautiful, majestic,
    He reigns over the souls served.

    There’s the mountain air of freedom,
    Breathing sweetly with all my breasts,
    Under the blue sky vaults
    The soul takes off joyfully.

    Voice rolls and keyboard splash
    Harmony is full of native ether –
    The structure of passionate feelings and the structure of earthly nature,
    United world.

    The element of the words of high poetry,
    Melodies romantic chant
    There’s an eye in the open hall
    They fly, overcoming fate.


    Dedicated to the joint performance of Evgeny Kisin and Rene Fleming at Carnegie Hall on May 31, 2023.

    And in return to them in spiritual thirst
    Everyone opens the hearts,
    As a revelation in everyone’s life,
    Like gratitude without end!

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