General News

Renee Fleming wins praise for play debut

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Jul 21, 2014 | 9:24pm EDT

American soprano Renee Fleming has swapped opera for acting to make her debut in a play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. The opera veteran is no stranger to the stage, but for the first time in her three-decade long career, she has stepped into the spotlight without a musical score to accompany her. In Living on Love, Fleming plays a beloved American opera diva married to a fiery composer, and it co-stars Douglas Sills as her onstage husband, as well as Veep actress Anna Chlumsky and actor Justin Long. Fleming managed to prove herself onstage, with critics giving her mostly positive reviews. Alexis Soloski of the New York Daily News writes, "Like all the characters, (Fleming's character) Raquel is an assemblage of tics and quirks rather than a flesh-and-blood human. Ms. Fleming's take on the role is eight-lane-highway broad, and she has the costumes to match. But when she ascends into an aria, letting her heavens-grazing voice stand in for Raquel's, she seems entirely in tune." Steve Barnes of New York's Times Union newspaper calls her performance both funny and "captivating", adding, "Fleming commands the theatre with an expected amount of regal presence, especially on the few occasions when she sings." Living on Love ends its run on Saturday (26Jul14).

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