Monday, February 3, 2014

Renee Fleming and the Super Bowl National Anthem

Chances are good that if you live in the USA then by now you'd have heard about Renee Fleming, that opera soprano that blew just about everyone (well, at least all the ones with good hearing and functioning ability to recognize great singing when they chance on it) away singing one of the most abused national anthems on the planet before the Super Bowl started last Sunday. Clips of it are now all over Youtube... for good reasons:

I'm not necessarily a Fleming fan, but dudes, she was much better than the football that followed and a real class act in her rendition (and could give a masterclass on how to cope with that tune's many technical difficulties). If you had never experienced opera before, there is plenty more where this came from, you know? If you liked (or, like most of us, opera fans included, are blown away by) this singing, go look for more Fleming and her many amazing operatic colleague on Youtube and at the opera house near you.

And if you are here in San Diego... the opera season is on now at the Civic Theater in downtown! I'm afraid I missed Pagliacci, the first show of the season. I'm hoping to catch one of the upcoming L'Elixir d'amore in February, though, and the one off performance of Verdi's requiem is not to be missed either. Why leave singers like Fleming just for the obnoxious opera fans? Come join the fun and the thrill! :oD


yvette said...

Great post Smorgy and Renée is really amazing, where does she get that strength and power in her singing ? so moving.. I don't know about the match but they were sure to get the right push!

knotty said...

I didn't watch any of the Super Bowl, including Renee Fleming's rendition of our national anthem. I'm listening now.

I was introduced to opera in college, when I studied voice. It is an underrated art form.

Smorg said...

Merci, Yvette ! :oD I missed the whole show, actually. Have a lot of work to get done within the next 5 days or so, and only looked Fleming's national anthem up on Youtube afterward... and very promptly regretted missing it live! She really sang it like she meant it and actually almost made it look easy (what a dastardly difficult thing it is. Whoever composed it really didn't do it for the common folks to sing :oP ). I'm not much for nationalism, but that really made me proud. :oD

Hey Knotty : It is indeed an underrated artform! I'm quite happy to see many 'wow' comments from people who aren't familiar with opera who watched this on youtube (of course, there are a few idiots who dissed it as well. Some tone deaf people even claim that she sang off-key or off-pitch or both. :oP Maybe it's because they had never heard anyone sung this thing in all the right notes before? After years of the anthem being sung by not very well trained pop singers (and I like many of those pop singers) it was really marvelous to hear someone who can actually sustain whole phrases in full voice without running out of breath after every few words and can do much more than just coping with the music.

Then of course, the Broncos took the field and almost got shut out. The game itself was really quite a let down, but at least La Fleming gave us something to cheer about. :o)

earwormopera said...

Maybe next year we can get JDD to sing it! (My mom and dad saw RF doing the anthem when they watched the game - mom, a fellow classical fan, said it was a real relief to hear someone sing the damn thing in tune for once.)

Smorg said...

Hi Eyes!
That (getting Joyce DiDonato to sing the next Super Bowl anthem) would be a coup indeed! :oD It was so refreshing to hear that thing actually sung by someone who can hit all the notes and not run out of breath in the middle of phrases. And in-tune the whole way indeed ,tho that doesn't seem to stop some tone deaf people from accusing RF of singing off pitch 'often' and 'constantly' on the Youtube clips of this thing... Some folks just can't seem to keep their tone-deafness to themselves! :oP

That said... that song is way too difficult for the mass to sing to be a national anthem. :o( It's glorious when someone like Fleming does it justice, but, honestly... an octave and a fifth (a half if you interpolate) with that icky tessitura right in the upper break most of the way. I, for one, haven't got a chance (not that I'd ever be caught dead singing out loud. Hahaha)!

Thanks very much for stopping by! Hope the ball game didn't bore your parents to tears (at least they got to hear Fleming sing, tho), too. I'm afraid I'm way behind on blog reading and quite a lot of catching up to do with the Last Tango in Halifax series. I thought I had a bit of time off coming this weekend and next week, but another work load with really short deadline just came in last night. When it rains it really does the Niagara flow!

Smorg said...

Ooops! Sorry, Ears! I wasn't seeing straight after spending too many hours staring at the computer monitor. :oP Gotta catch up with you, too!