Yep, America’s biggest, baddest sporting event just received a twist of elegance thanks to opera diva Renée Fleming‘s stunning rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Clad in a simple black dress with a structured white wrap-thingie (that’s the technical term), Fleming confidently took to the mic at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and delivered the National Anthem in the kind of muscular, straightforward fashion you’d expect from a classically trained diva. This isn’t to imply that Fleming skimped on her trademark vocal horsepower (that last note — whoa!), but rather that she emphasized restraint — choosing to focus on the famous melody and to avoid an excess of ad-libs and runs.
Compared to last year’s slowed-down, keyboard-heavy National Anthem by Alicia Keys, Fleming’s was undoubtedly more traditional — and arguably more stirring. In other words, the first opera star to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” in Super Bowl history did her profession proud.
Queen Latifah, meanwhile, preceded Fleming in singing “America the Beautiful” — with a little help from the New Jersey Youth Chorus. The rapper-Oscar nominee-vocalist, who made headlines when she officiated a mass wedding celebration at last Sunday’s Grammy Awards, took a few liberties with the chorus, but seemed to be having a blast while she did it.
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