The NFL and Fox announced yesterday that world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVII on February 2. In addition to her numerous performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fleming serves as the company's Creative Consultant.
A four-time Grammy award winner, Fleming will be the first-ever operatic vocalist to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. Other singers who have performed the anthem at the Super Bowl in previous years have included Alicia Keys, Cher, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Clarkson.
Often known as "the People's Diva", Fleming's recent accomplishments have included receiving the National Medal for the Arts from President Obama at the White House in 2012 as well as performances at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the 2008 Olympic Games.
Fleming's upcoming performance is just one of the vocalist's projects to attract a wider audience to opera. Her 2010 album Dark Hope covered pop songs by artists including Jefferson Airplane, Peter Gabriel, and Muse. She also sang an operatic "Top 10" list on the "Late Night Show with David Letterman".
Here in Chicago, Fleming joined with a team of collaborators from Lyric Opera and comedy troupe The Second City in to create "The Second City Guide to the Opera" a cabaret-style show which lovingly parodied all things opera. The show went on to win two Jeff Awards in 2013.
More than 164 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year's Super Bowl. This year, there will likely be a large number of opera fans among the millions who will tune in. Or at least, they'll be watching for the first 15 minutes.