Renée Fleming to Sing National Anthem at 2014 Super Bowl

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 12:41 PM

The Super Bowl will have a touch of the operatic this year: Soprano Renée Fleming will sing the national anthem.

The four-time Grammy winner will perform before the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Feb. 2. Fleming is the first opera star to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, according to the Associated Press. In recent years, it has been performed mainly by a mix of pop and country stars.

This won't be Fleming's first high-profile performance of the "Star-Spangled Banner." In 2003, she opened game two of the World Series, in which the Yankees battled the Florida Marlins. That performance did not go without a hitch, however. According to published reports, the singer flubbed a few words in mid-performance. That may not be an issue here: Performers at the Super Bowl have frequently lip-synced the notoriously difficult anthem in the past.

Currently singing Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera, Fleming is frequently called on for big public events, whether the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Concert in 2012 or the Obama Inauguration concert in 2009. In September, she appeared on David Letterman, singing a Top 10 list.

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Comments [16]

@KB Lane: Sorry. You lost me at "I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor ..." It's really not all about you. Ms. Fleming acquitted herself very well ... in a horrendous arrangement.

DD~~

Feb. 03 2014 01:49 AM
Ileana adamos from NYC

THE BEST EVER ... Thank you Renee Fleming YOU DID IT AGAIN !! You did it beautifully and the RIGHT WAY !! THANK YOU YOU BOOM BOOM BOOM ROCK THE ROOM !!

Feb. 02 2014 06:30 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

BRAVA RENEE FLEMING for opting to do the Star Spangled Banner outdoors in cold windy weather. i myself have performed under similar conditions and although it is possible to sing well it is hardly ever representative of the singer's best. Ms. Fleming may well be the first time Super Bowl enthusiasts have ever heard a real opera voice.. Baseball fans, however, remember ROBERT MERRILL whose voice thrilled listeners as he sang the national anthem and, of course, at the MET OPERA. I am performing and recording onto DVDs "The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, the Movies and the Grammys." Their release is upcoming soon. I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor. I will sing the four song cycles that are most often performed in their orchestral garb:the complete Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder," the complete Mahler's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen," the tenor's music in Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" and Waldemar's music in Schoenberg's "Gurre-Lieder" at the New Life Expo at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC on Saturday March 22nd at 6 PM. I have sung four three-hour-long solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall including programming the Wagner and the first named Mahler song cycle. One may hear my singing LIVE from the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL, four solo concerts by downloading, FREE, 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung there by going to RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites www.WagnerOpera.com,
www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com

Feb. 01 2014 07:13 PM

Ed in Kissimmee, FL

At last, a singer who will not sing 4-5 notes per syllable. It's annoying to think that these "pop" singers are the best we can field to sing a difficult national anthem. I am old enough to remember when the anthem was sung only by qualified singers with the range and training this song deserves. As far as her lip synching, it may be the coldest Superbowl ever, so it stands to reason that it probably will be done. I can live with a singer lip synching her own singing.

Jan. 25 2014 12:15 PM
EKaybe from New York City

Finally I can hold my head up high with our National Anthem being sung by Renee Flemining. Past pop
singers have made me want to crawl under a table in embarrassment.

Jan. 23 2014 06:10 PM
Kevin from Montreal

Finally! Someone who will sing the National Anthem with the glory, honour, and dignity that it deserves.

I HATE versions of national anthems when there are a lot of unnecessary notes, embellishments... A national anthem is NOT a lounge song, a pop song, nor a barroom ditty.

This is a song that speaks of a nation and it should ALWAYS be sung with great reverence. I know Renee fleming will do just that!

Jan. 23 2014 03:20 PM
Barry Owen Furrer

A microphone in use at an outdoor venue is a moot point when it comes to the Super Bowl. History shows us these performances at highly televised events are pre-recorded such as Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl, Pavarotti at the 2006 Winter Olympics (granted he was ill), and Itzhak Perlman at President Obama's 1st inaugural. No doubt we will have the pleasure of hearing Ms. Fleming's voice but will it be live or is it Memorex?

Jan. 22 2014 07:42 PM
Susan Tomcko from Dallas, TX

In total agreement! Renee will sing our National Anthem as I believe it should be sung! Giving full honor to it and to our great nationa.

Jan. 22 2014 12:58 PM
Bob R. from NJ

At last we'll have our national anthem sung as it should be (since Robert Merrill) rather than bastardized by so called "singers" who don't even stay with, or can't find, the true melody! Thank you Ms. Fleming.

Jan. 22 2014 08:25 AM
Tim from Washington DC

Loved Renée's Top Ten list - thanks for the link to that hilarious video.

Jan. 22 2014 07:54 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Years ago, Robert Merrill used to sing the National Anthem for the Yankees.
I am glad Ms. Fleming will sing the anthem as I am sick and tired of it being trashed by pop singers.

Jan. 22 2014 07:10 AM

@Emma, how could anyone perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" in an outdoor stadium setting without a microphone? And, as noted in the WQXR post, she may even not be singing live out of doors. If that's the case, there would have to be a microphone involved.

That said, I'm grateful that we can show the nation a little bit of "non-pop-music" class.

Jan. 22 2014 03:01 AM
Gary from Illinois

This is the best thing to happen at the Superbowl since the last time the Dallas Cowboys won it!

Jan. 21 2014 11:27 PM
Adina M. from Syracuse, NY

I will actually watch the Super Bowl this year! Go Renée Fleming!

Jan. 21 2014 11:16 PM
Emma from Long Island, NY

Although I love Renee Fleming and opera and such (and America, yay!), I think it goes against everything in the world of opera because she's using a microphone!

Otherwise awesome :D It'll be the highlight for me!

Jan. 21 2014 02:58 PM
Brunnhilde from NYC

OMG - How cool is that!! You go girl!

Jan. 21 2014 02:14 PM

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