Renee Fleming: Super Bowl National Anthem Performer an Opera Singer

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 04:50 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Opera soprano Renee Fleming, often called “the people’s diva,” has been selected to sing the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII when the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL announced Tuesday.

More than 164 million people will hear what will undoubtedly be a beautiful rendition of America’s song. Fleming’s talent is celebrated worldwide, and she’s used to performing in front of millions. She has sung for the Olympics, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and last year received America’s highest honor for an individual artist, the National Medal of Arts., the NFL release said.

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Fleming has four Grammys honoring her amazing voice, and countless reviews that praise her magical ability to enthrall an audience. Now she can add entertaining millions at one of America’s biggest sporting events to her accolades.

Fleming is following a tremendous group of singers, mostly pop stars, whose voices have rung through the Super Bowl festivities — Alicia Keys, Diana Ross, the Backstreet Boys, Whitney Houston, and Natalie Cole, to name a few.

She is the first classical singer to lend her talent to the event, The Guardian said. “The Super Bowl, that cauldron of swaggering nationalism and multibillion-dollar corporate sponsorship, has always relied on pop divas, country music stars and American Idols to sing the national anthem at the start of the game,” the British newspaper pointed out.

It’s not surprising, said the Guardian, that Fleming would take on this latest gig. She hasn’t led a career that’s typical of many divas, often avoiding popular roles in favor of lesser known operas, and showing a love for contemporary classical music.

In September 2013, she even went on David Letterman and sang his famous Top 10 list of opera with pop lyrics. “The most memorable line, sung as if it were Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci: ‘What’s this berserk thing/Miley Cyrus calls twerking?’” the Guardian said.

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