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Renee Fleming: the best national anthem ever? (video)

Renee Fleming delivered a stirring national anthem. (Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)

For the first time, an opera singer performed the Super Bowl on Sunday night and, afterward, there was really only one question.

Can Renee Fleming do this every year?

It was relatively embellishment-free and came in at a refreshing 2 minutes, 3 seconds. (Looking at you, Alicia Keys.) Perhaps opera buffs found reason to criticize her, but The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette writes that “My sense was that Fleming — singing beautifully, her smile growing warmer as she sensed she was pulling it off — succeeded admirably at bringing opera to the table in a way that might get it invited back.”

Let’s hope so. After all, Jim Cornelison can’t be everywhere.

“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.”