© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A superstar soprano visits Charlotte to sing and promote art in mental health care

Renee Fleming on a red background
Andrew Eccles
Renee Fleming is joining the Charlotte Symphony for a special performance.

World-renowned soprano Renée Fleming is the special guest at this year's Charlotte Symphony Orchestra annual gala. In addition to her performance Wednesday with the CSO, Fleming will also don a newer hat — that of arts and health advocate — as she moderates a panel discussion on music, neuroscience, and mental health care.

She spoke recently with WFAE’s Eric Teel about her career, her art and her role as an advocate. Listen to their conversation and read some of the highlights below.

Art as a tool for mental health
Orchestra on stage

Fleming on why opera is still a relevant art form:
You know, I think it's an epic art form, I think it's really wonderful to attend a performance that is completely acoustic, meaning that this is how people really sound, it's not a sound that's created. This is how the orchestra really sounds. So I personally really enjoy that right now. And I also love to see people collaborating on stage, who are listening to each other and sharing works that are 'the best of.' You know, classic cars, classic everything — refers to something that has been already proven to be the best. And so that's basically the repertoire that we're performing most of the time.

On how she works with different orchestras while touring:
In my experience, it's mostly been a very collaborative experience. And one that doesn't even require that much conversation. I mean, I think that the conductors that I gravitate towards, and the ones that I tend to work with the most, we do it together, we feel it together. There's a give-and-take that happens from listening carefully, and watching it, feeling. It's a very intuitive experience. And it's one that you can kind of understand and garner just by watching the orchestra. I stay open-minded. I don't, I don't come in then say, 'Hey, this is how I do it.' That would be so boring.

On art and mental health:
Many countries never stopped practicing art at the center of health care. And it's at the center of who we are, as thriving human beings. And so that was quite exciting to have that realization.

WFAE's weekly arts and entertainment email newsletter, Tapestry, will keep you in the loop on arts and culture in the Charlotte region.

Select Your Email Format

Eric Teel comes to WFAE with more than 30 years of public radio programming experience across a wide variety of formats.