Watch: How Renée Fleming's Voice Became the Soundscape for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

Off-Broadway News   Watch: How Renée Fleming's Voice Became the Soundscape for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy
The world premiere, also starring Ben Whishaw, opened April 9 at The Shed and is scheduled to run through May 19.
Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming Andrew Eccles

Thanks to Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, we can now add Foley artist to Renée Fleming’s résumé.

While using human voices isn’t unusual when building soundscapes, the use of the soprano’s high pitch to create noises like city sirens is.

Nothing in the show isn’t her, according to composer Paul Clark. The entire soundtrack, whether it’s a song or an abstract noise, is built from recordings by Fleming specifically for the show, using every sound in her repertoire.

“I didn’t believe it,” says Fleming in the video below. “So for weeks and weeks and weeks, I just assumed that a lot of sounds were brought in from the outside because they’re so real sounding.”

Set in 1964, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy sees an office manager (played by Ben Whishaw) hire one of his stenographers to come in at night and type out his adaptation of Euripides’ Helen, but his obsession with the recently dead Marilyn Monroe kidnaps the translation.

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, a new spoken and sung performance piece by poet, essayist, and scholar Anne Carson, is directed by Katie Mitchell. Performances began April 6 in The Shed's Griffin Theater, and are scheduled through May 19.

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