The Art of Renée Fleming is essentially an album of the soprano's most popular hits, probably not targeted at listeners who are already big fans (who are likely to already have the albums from which these selections were culled), but at more general audiences interested in expanding their operatic horizons. With a few very familiar exceptions, the songs and arias are from the Romantic and post-Romantic eras, and showcase the luxurious creaminess of Fleming's voice and her ability to spin out melodic lines with seamless, soaring lyricism. The album does not offer a representative sample of what Fleming can do -- its narrow focus excludes music of the Classical, Modern, and Contemporary eras, in all of which she excels -- but what it does it does very well.
The recital albums from which these selections were taken were recorded between 1997 and 2010. Fleming receives stellar accompaniment from some of the world's finest conductors and orchestras, including (to name only a few) Georg Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra, James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater. There are four bonus tracks of songs from outside the classical repertoire: "Wheels of a Dream" from the musical Ragtime; Amazing Grace, in a lovely arrangement by violinist Mark O'Connor; You'll Never Walk Alone; and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." These songs demonstrate Fleming's versatility and natural ability to cross effortlessly into jazz and popular styles. The recorded sound throughout is flawlessly engineered.