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Richard Strauss: Beim Schlafengehen

As a young American soprano studying opera in the early 2000s, Renée Fleming was my hero. Who am I kidding, she still is. She has the most beautiful tone quality, consummate technique, and an air of ease that makes the whole thing seem effortless. Of course now, as a working singer, I know that making it look effortless takes years of hard work and dedication. My favorite Renée recording is Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder with Eschenbach from the 90’s, and my favorite song from that cycle is “Beim Schlafengehen.” I listened to that recording weekly for three or four years, especially when I felt down about the business or about my progression as an artist. It always brought me back to center, a gentle reminder of why I sing: for the pure joy of self-expression and (hopefully) transporting others in the process. Since I couldn’t find that recording on YouTube, here’s a live version from the Proms in 2001.

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