Renee Fleming's breathtaking rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night had Twitter users and classical music critics raving, calling it possibly the best performance of the national anthem ever.
The 54-year-old Grammy Award-winning soprano dazzled everyone at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and the millions of viewers watching from home Sunday with her powerful vocals and impressive range.
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"Between the soprano’s operatic vocals and the goosebump-inducing performance from trumpet player Jesse McGuire before the NFC divisional playoff game in Charlotte, let’s make a rule that playoff anthems only be performed by classically-trained musicians," USA Today's Chris Chase wrote on the paper's "For The Win" blog
. "And, no, 'American Idol' doesn’t count as classic training."
Fleming's performance marked the first time ever that an opera star has sung the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
"Her rendition was eminently operatic: confident, sensible and performed with ease, and without the strain — sometimes exciting, sometimes not — that pop-diva belting entails," Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times wrote
. "Singing in front of a television audience that likely exceeded 100 million, she kept her calm, negotiating the anthem’s treacherous rhythms and notorious range with clarity."
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