The ceremony took place at the Th_ê¢tre des Champs-Elys_es after Fleming gave a recital there. French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres presented the honor; composers Pierre Boulez and Henri Dutilleux were in attendance, as was former minister of foreign affairs Roland Dumas.
The L_gion d'Honneur, created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, is France's highest-ranking order.
Fleming made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1991 as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and has returned there many times. Among her other signature roles are Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. She appeared in the world premieres of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, Conrad Susa's Dangerous Liaisons, and Andr_ Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.
Her most recent recordings include Sacred Songs, a collection of music by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, and others recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Strauss's Daphne, recorded with the WDR Symphony; and a jazz-inspired album titled Haunted Heart.
Fleming's memoir, The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer, was recently released in paperback.