When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks’ players line the field before the start of next Sunday’s Super Bowl, it will be for an unlikely reason: to listen to an opera singer.
Soprano Renee Fleming has been tapped to sing the national anthem before the start of the Feb. 2 game at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. The four-time Grammy winner will be the first opera star to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
While Fleming is a likely choice for her hometown of New York – she is set to begin performances this week of Dvorak’s “Rusalka” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and has spent years singing at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall — the choice of an opera singer performing for football fans is not so likely.
“I think if anyone can handle this, Renee Fleming can, but the stakes are high,” said Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter. “This is not another performance at the Met.”
Alicia Keys sang the national anthem at last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans. In previous years, “American Idol” winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and pop star Christina Aguilera did the honors.
Fleming does bring a bit of sports experience to the Super Bowl with her. She sang the national anthem before Game 2 of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium.