Regardless of whether you will be watching ... it's at least nice to know that someone who can hit the high notes will be singing the National Anthemn at the Super Bowl this year.
Since this is the first time an opera singer and star has been chosen for the traditional opening, it's big news in the classical world.
"Renee Fleming has hit some important pop-culture markers in the last few months. In September, she went on the Letterman show to sing the Top Ten list. Now, she’s going to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. 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."
You will love this part about selling out -- we are beyond this in rock music, but I thought you'd get a kick out of this (see below).
"Any time a classical artist appears in a non-traditional venue, some purist is probably going to make noises about commercialism and selling out. It’s hard to remember now the furor that Luciano Pavarotti caused when he made his first American Express ad, back in the 70s. Times have changed, not least in that there are precious few classical artists today who could risk asking “Do you know me?” on national television, though Yo-Yo Ma, Josh Bell, and Fleming herself could probably get away with it.
The outrage about this kind of thing has abated, and a good thing, too, since classical artists have been making what they could out of their renown from the dawn of the field’s history. Nonetheless, there remains a sense of disapproval in die-hard classical circles when one of their own steps out of the fold – when Fleming, for instance, makes an indie pop album. There is a touch of sour grapes about such reactions, since the field is on some level so hungry for recognition that many of the artists who make pronouncements about not wanting to sell out would almost certainly leap at the chance to appear on Letterman themselves.
And if Fleming is able to do it in a way that makes Letterman and his viewers want to know more about her, this is a good thing for classical music – not least because Fleming, for all of her explorations of different vocal avenues over the years, is in no danger of going over to the crossover/arena concert camp."