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Guess Who's Singing The National Anthem At The Super Bowl?

From taffeta to tackles: Soprano Renee Fleming has been tapped to sing at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Karin Cooper
/
Courtesy of Washington National Opera
From taffeta to tackles: Soprano Renee Fleming has been tapped to sing at Super Bowl XLVIII.

She's probably not among your first, or second, or 10th, or 20th-round guesses, but the NFL just announced that American soprano Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

Fleming is the first-ever opera singer to be given the honor. The winner of four Grammy Awards and the National Medal of Arts, Fleming has tried to cultivate an image of being an eminently approachable personality, much like Beverly Sills was for another generation; for years, her press materials have billed her as "the people's diva." And her football performance just may well cement her reputation as the most "mainstream" of opera stars, especially as the 54-year-old artist begins to wind down her performance career. After all, last year's game was watched by more than 164 million viewers in the U.S.

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Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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