Opera diva and Rochester native Renee Fleming has made her debut as an actress in a play. That must be like slumming to her. Next to singing opera, just plain old acting must be easy. It must also be easy next to singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, which Fleming – pictured in the header – did earlier this year.
Fleming just finished a couple of weeks’ run of a comedy by Joe DiPietro called “Living On Love,” in which she played an opera diva whose career is fading. The names in the play are hilarious. Her character is Raquel de Angelis and in the drama she is married to a conductor named Vito de Angelis. The two of them apparently fall in love respectively with the two writers who are helping them with their autobiographies.
The play was on stage at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Williamstown, Mass. The New York Times had fun mocking it out but at the same time seems to have found some things to admire.
Theater critic Rex Reed says Fleming was marvelous and hopes the play makes it to Broadway. He writes that Fleming took one of the funniest curtain calls he has ever seen.
Even though the play is a comedy, Fleming is kind of brave to play the character she does. Her career in real life is definitely not fading. At the same time, she has been unflinching as far as confronting the image of aging. She was very moving in “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Metropolitan Opera several years ago, playing the Marschallin who broods about growing older.
Renee Fleming is performing at Kleinhans Music Hall on Sept. 13 for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s season-opening gala.