Orchestra Hall has an orchestra again: Renee Fleming kicks off new season


After a labor dispute that produced the longest work stoppage by an American professional orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra is back on stage.

And who better to kickoff their first season-opener in three years than Super Bowl veteran Renee Fleming?

The four-time Grammy winning diva was featured in the Minnesota Orchestra's return to its concert home in Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, which has been through a renovation since they last played there.

A reviewer in the Pioneer Press says Fleming took on the role of a human olive branch, suggesting the music felt like a peace offering to those put off by the orchestra's 16 month lockout.

The Star Tribune says the audience for the sold-out show included Gov. Mark Dayton and the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Star Tribune also has a gallery of photos from the event.

Earlier in the week, Fleming told Minnesota Public Radio she knew opening night would be emotional. In discussing a standoff that was watched throughout the classical music world, Fleming described it as a sort of cautionary tale in the industry:

"In the future, I think at least for a while, when people think about the trials of Minneapolis they will say, 'Well actually we probably should try and compromise and reach some sort of agreement,'" she said.

Behind Fleming, Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducted the Orchestra. Vänskä resigned from his post in frustration over missed concerts during the lockout, but returned in April after a settlement was finally reached between musicians and the Orchestra's board.

Even though Orchestra Hall was full, the size of the audience was a fraction of the crowd that watched Fleming sing the Star Spangled Banner before last winter's Super Bowl in New Jersey.

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