Many years ago, people often heard Professor Cornwell talk a great deal about Renee Fleming. He had met with her back stage at the Kravis after performing there. The professor would share his delight about meeting her. A friend of his who was a violinist who graduated Eastman School of Music would often tell the professor about Renee’s concerts or send reviews of the concerts. Professor Cornwell shared this information with others, in complete joy.
One day just before the Christmas holidays, one of the staff people, off on lunch and watching the television, came running to Professor Cornwell, saying, “Doug, your girlfriend is on television!” “What?” Professor Cornwell said. “I don’t have a girlfriend so what are you taking about?” The reply came back that it was Renee Fleming! “You know! You mention her singing all the time! She is your girlfriend!” Professor Cornwell just laughed. He went to watch her on the daytime program, The View.
More recently, Renee has retired from the Metropolitan Opera and one does not get to hear her perform as often. Our favorite classical music station, ClassicFM, out of London, England, rarely plays Renee Fleming anymore, as it once did. It substitutes other sopranos in her place, for all the trademark arias which people have become accustomed to hearing Renee. One can hear retired Professor Cornwell, as he listens to the other sopranos, as he says, “that one is okay, but not as good as Renee!”
Tonight, at 9 PM (EDST), Renee Fleming will be performing once again. Her performance will be on local PBS affiliate, WSKG (Binghamton). Professor Cornwell is counting down the minutes so as to, once again, hear his “girlfriend” perform!