Saw Renee Fleming a while back in Handel's Alcina at The Lyric Opera of Chicago. I was supering at the time in the Miller/Balcolm/Weinstein's world premier of "View from the Bridge."
After Alcina I went backstage to see if I could get an autograph on two CDs I brought along. I got in line at her dressing room door with my friend Sharon, behind four or five other couples. When Ms. Fleming had changed she opened her door and began greeting people.
When it was our turn she looked at me like, "Do I know you?" and I explained that I was a super for the Lyric and was currently in “View from the Bridge.” I introduced myself and my friend Sharon and told Ms. Fleming how much I enjoyed her performance.
I asked if I could please impose on her for an autograph knowing how exhausted she must be from the difficult role of Alcina. She was very gracious, explained away any exhaustion compared to the joy of the performance and having people come to see her back stage. She even remembered my name as she signed the CD I had handed her, “To Michael, A Fellow Opera Lover. With Affection, Renee Fleming."
She told me that she would be at the final performance of "Bridge" and asked me about my part. The next night after the final “Bridge” performance the stage back lobby was filled with all kinds of important people and press due to the world premier significance of the opera.
As I was leaving through the lobby, Renee Fleming called out, “Michael,” as she came running towards me and grabbed my hands in hers, “You were wonderful. What an opera! I enjoyed it so much.” I thanked her and we exchanged “opera kisses.”
Can you imaging how impressed my fellow supers were?
February 8, 2009