What do football and opera have in common?

In a surprise for both opera lovers and football fans, soprano Renée Fleming will be singing the national anthem for the opening of this year’s Super Bowl. This is a significant departure from the last five years which featured female pop divas Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson. While Fleming is not the first classical musician to perform at the Super Bowl, she is the first opera singer. For those unfamiliar with her work, Fleming is a four-time Grammy winner, a National Medal of the Arts recipient, and has sung in opera houses and concert halls around the world. She’s also the Creative Consultant at our very own Lyric Opera of Chicago.

While I’m certain that there are many football-loving opera fans out there, there might be fewer opera-loving football fans, and indeed, I think many of us assume opera and football to be on opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. However, they’re not as different as you might think! Check out the Top Five Similarities Between Opera and Football.

If you’re interested in exploring some of Fleming’s work, check out the following items available in our library:

Bel Canto
The Beautiful Voice

or check out this book, Living Opera, which features an interview with Fleming..

Fleming will also be performing in Chicago on Wednesday, March 19th at 7:30pm with tenor Jonas Kaufmann at the Lyric Opera House. Tickets and more information available here.

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