On 30th August, for the annual BBC PROMS 2017, American soprano Renée Fleming returns to join Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra for the shimmering ‘transformation’ music that closes Richard Strauss’s opera Daphne, and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a nostalgic portrait of the America of a simpler age. The RSPO also brings music by its Swedish compatriot Andrea Tarrodi – Liguria, a vivid musical ‘walking tour’ through Italian fishing villages as well as Nielsen’s Second Symphony, ‘The Four Temperaments’, whose four movements offer different character portraits, from a choleric opening Allegro to a melancholic slow movement.
Inspired by her 'transformation' music Renée Fleming worked closely with the Vivienne Westwood couture team to create a bespoke Bird of Paradise gown in a smoked silver and romantic mauve floral silk jacquard. The intricate cherry blossom detail in the fabric is symbolic of her character Daphne’s own transformation scene, in Richard Strauss’ ‘Ich komme – ich komme’ in which she turns into a tree.
Created especially for this momentous performance, Renée’s gown will transform with each change of composer, beginning the performance with the gown cinched and bustled up to create a more slimline silhouette, as the music takes the audience through the story. The full detail and drama of the gown is revealed for the operatic tempo transformation into Strauss’ Daphne, when the full skirt billows into a ball gown – commanding attention for Renée’s epic proms finale.
Vivienne Westwood Couture, 6 Davies St, London W1K 3DN