Two Stars Light Up the Colorado Symphony

Audra McDonald and Renée Fleming will be joining the Colorado Symphony for two special performances this fall

There’s more than pumpkin-spiced everything to look forward to this fall as American songbirds Audra McDonald and Renée Fleming join the Colorado Symphony for two special performances.

“This is our centennial season so we definitely wanted to pull out all the stops with these two performers,” said Nick Dobreff, Communications and Creative Director for the Colorado Symphony Association. “We always look to bring in a number of big name artists each season and sometimes it depends on schedules and other things, but it worked out to get these two and it’s going to be an incredible year for us.”

An Evening on Broadway with Audra McDonald

The first show features McDonald on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30pm in Boettcher Concert Hall. McDonald not only shines through her voice, but she has won six Tony Awards (three were awarded before she turned 30), two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2016, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2017. The California native received her classical vocal training at New York’s Juilliard School.

“Audra McDonald is just an incredible, legendary performer who we’re thrilled to welcome to Boettcher for the very first time,” added Deobreff, promising an marvelous night for everyone in attendance.

The sentiment proves well deserved given McDonald has a long repertoire in opera, theater and film. On the opera side she has performed with Houston Grand Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. She has worked closely with composer Michael John LaChiusa, who wrote several pieces for her including the opera Send (who are you? i love you), The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle, and the Broadway musical Marie Christine. McDonald also has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and New York Philharmonic too, among others.

For the September 23 concert in Denver, Andy Einhorn conducts the luminous soprano as she sings tunes from the American musical theater songbook. Think songs by such composers as Harold Arlen, song-writing duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and, of course, George and Ira Gershwin. The actual song list will remain a surprise, only to be released on stage when the show starts.

Renee Fleming with your Colorado Symphony

Renée Fleming’s set will also be kept quiet until the opera star takes the stage on Saturday, October 7 at 7:30pm. Fleming too has been seen many accolades and honors, including four Grammy Awards, becoming first-ever creative consultant of Chicago’s Lyric Opera in December 2010, and receiving the US National Medal of Arts in 2013. This year the soprano also be awarded for a lifetime of artistic achievement at the 46th Kennedy Center Honors, which takes place in December.

The Pennsylvania native not only has graced numerous stages, her work has appeared in soundtracks for movies such as The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Shape of Water.

“Simply put, she’s one of the most incredible vocalists of our time,” said Deobreff. “Renée is someone we’ve performed with a couple times over the last decade and she’s thrilled to be coming back to Denver.”

Expect an evening featuring opera favorites. After all, through her work with The Metropolitan Opera (the Met) in New York, Fleming has almost played them all, from her 1988 debut role as Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro to Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello to Violetta in La Traviata. Fleming also works with more modern operatic scores, including holding the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah; playing Blanche in the world premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire for the San Francisco Opera; and performing Countess Rosina in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.

But back to the present and what September and October have in store for the Centennial State. The weather might be unpredictable, but with certainty we can say that with these two unique performances, you’ll get just the right amount of spice to kick off the season and finish out a wonderful 2023. Then, look forward to spring 2024 when Yo-Yo Ma comes to play in May.