There’s been a fair amount of pop/classical crossover happening over the last few years, what with aspirational types like Elvis Costello, Sting, and Rufus Wainwright either penning their own classical/operatic pieces or interpreting those of others. But the scrappy soprano Renee Fleming has decided to come at it from the other side of the divide with her upcoming album, Dark Hope.
The opera icon’s new release, due out on Decca sometime this spring, finds her partnering with heavyweight producer David Kahne — who has manned the board for everyone from The Strokes to Sublime — for a selection of songs from all over the pop/rock map, from ’60s psych to modern-day indie rock. Just a few of the tracks she tackles on Dark Hope are “Endlessly” by proggy Britpoppers Muse, “Intervention” by Arcade Fire, “Soul Meets Body” by “Death Cab For Cutie,” and the early Jefferson Airplane cut “Today,” as well as tunes by Leonard Cohen, Band of Horses, and others. Fleming is well aware that entering the rock realm requires an adjustment in her vocal approach, and she recorded her vocals for the album pop-style, close-miked in a small vocal booth, as opposed to the usual operatic recording mode. “I felt it would be fascinating to learn a completely different style of singing” says the adventurous songbird.