Super Bowl National Anthem Surprise Pick

By on January 31, 2014

Style: "Disable"Why shouldn’t the National Anthem be sung correctly?  When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks’ players line the field on Sunday, February. 2, Opera superstar – soprano Renée Fleming will step up to the microphone at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium to sing “The Star- Spangled Banner” at this year’s Super Bowl game.  The four-time Grammy winner will be the first opera singer ever to appear.

Given the song’s range (an octave and a half) and difficulty, it is surprising that no one thought to bring in a classically trained singer before.  Musical attention at the Super Bowl usually focuses on the halftime show, but since this kind of attention is so rare in classical music these days, and since Fleming is the first opera singer ever to be accorded this, well, honor, the announcement has caused quite a stir.

Fleming’s hometown is New York and she is set to sing “Rusalka” at the Metropolitan Opera, and has spent years singing at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.  She brings a bit of sports experience with her, as she sang the anthem before Game 2 of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The “National Anthem” as sung at sporting events often suffers from glaring problems of pitch, melody, meter, rhythm, tempo, diction and tonality, not to mention contemporary artists’ penchant of changing the melodic line to include unnecessary pop licks and flourishes.

Stas Kmiec