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,” those ho-hos are so booming that he sounds like Mephistopheles.Yet a classical singer with restraint and taste can put a pop song in a revealing new context.
Singing sensitively, she is almost too deferential to the music.
Although mostly panned by classical critics, the album had a notable champion in the pianist Glenn Gould.
Mawkish to be sure, but within months it went gold on the charts.
Many crossover projects aim straight for the middle-ground, middle-brow market and hit their targets squarely, albums like “Joshua Bell at Home With Friends,” on which you can hear, among other cross-stylistic collaborations, this enormously successful violinist playing “Eleanor Rigby” with the pop pianist and vocalist Frankie Moreno, or the cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s album “Songs of Peace and Joy,” in which he joins James Taylor, the Brazilian guitar duo Sérgio and Odair Assad, and others.
In 2004 I was touched when Nathaniel Webster, a fine young baritone, ended a program at Weill Recital Hall with two songs by Rufus Wainwright, “In a Graveyard” and “Pretty Things.” Accompanied by the pianist Kevin Murphy, Mr.
Webster made these works his own, singing with elegance and projecting Mr.
Her work in popular culture tainted her in the eyes of impresarios like Rudolf Bing at the Metropolitan Opera, although today an opera singer with such media exposure would be coveted. Fleming has fared well with her own ventures into jazz, scatting away and shaping phrases with the subdued beauty of Betty Carter. Not so in “Dark Hope.” Why did she undertake this radical transformation?
As she has explained in interviews, the project was not her idea.
More recently Sting recorded “Songs From the Labyrinth,” with works by the late-Renaissance English composer, singer and lutenist John Dowland, with Edin Karamazov playing lute.
Sting embraces Dowland as a forebear, and though his crooning style takes adjusting to, the performances are painstakingly rendered and intriguing. Fleming is correct when she says that for the most part crossover refers to classical artists who claim pop pieces and perform them in essentially a classical manner. I’ll never forget hearing Renata Tebaldi in concert with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra singing “If I Loved You,” the Rodgers and Hammerstein song.
These releases apparently appeal to buyers intrigued by classical artists they have seen on television but who are not ready to buy a recording of Beethoven Cello Sonatas or the Barber Violin Concerto.