SALT LAKE CITY — Renée Fleming, renowned for her distinctive voice, stylistic versatility, and captivating stage presence, will be the featured guest artist for this year’s Christmas concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

“Renée Fleming is hailed as one of the leading sopranos on the greatest opera stages of today,” said Craig Jessop, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  “American by birth and training, she has endeared herself to millions of listeners because of her great artistry and her great humanity.”

The Christmas concerts will be presented in the Conference Center on Thursday, 8 December (preview performance) at 8:00 p.m., on Friday, 9 December and Saturday, 10 December, both at 7:30 p.m.  The weekly half-hour CBS radio broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, 11 December, at 9:30 a.m. in the Conference Center will also feature Fleming as guest performer.  It will be followed by a mini-concert with additional music from the concert program.

Craig Jessop and Mack Wilberg will conduct the Choir and Orchestra.  John Longhurst, Clay Christiansen and Richard Elliott will accompany at the organ.

Free tickets for these concerts and the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast are required and will be available at the Conference Center Ticket Office and on the Internet at www.lds.org/events  starting Saturday, 5 November 2005 at 10:00 a.m. MST.  On Saturday, 5 November only, door 12 of the Conference Center will be opened for patrons seeking tickets and numbers will be distributed for obtaining tickets when the ticket office opens at 10:00 a.m.

Standby tickets for those without tickets will not be issued.  However, patrons are invited to stand by for last-minute seating each evening and on Sunday morning for the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast.  The standby line will form at the North Gate on Temple Square at 6:00 p.m. for the evening performances and at 7:30 a.m. for the Sunday broadcast.

The doors of the Conference Center will open at 7:00 p.m. for the 8 December preview performance, at 6:00 p.m. for the 9-10 December performances and at 8:00 a.m. for the 11 December broadcast.  The length of the evening performance will be approximately 90 minutes.  The broadcast and mini concert on Sunday should last roughly an hour.  Seating is limited to those 8 years of age and older. Given the increase in traffic due to other scheduled downtown holiday events, guests are asked to allow extra time for travel and parking in order to be seated 30 minutes before the performance begins.