On Feb. 5 American audiences will celebrate one of the most popular holidays – the Super Bowl.
And while it is a football event that doesn’t have anything to do with opera, operatic stars have definitely been present throughout the past few years in many sporting events. Just looking at the Olympics held in Russia in 2014. Anna Netrebko performed the anthem at the opening ceremony and at the closing ceremony Hibla Gerzmava had her own moment to shine. Maria Guleghina also had the honor of closing the Odessa Olympics in 2010.
Looking at American terrain the Yankee diva Joyce DiDonato was honored to perform for the Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. A Kansas Royals fan, the mezzo soprano performed with a Royals jersey getting rid of the formalities of a gown. And this year Michael Fabiano sang for a New York Jets game.
But the one performance that most will remember is Renee Fleming’s at the Super Bowl in 2014. She became the first operatic and classical singer to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and for that she received a lot of press. It was a great moment for opera as it was bringing the art form to a national platform and to a sport that isn’t associated with operatic fans. What was also historical was that the broadcast drew the largest television audience in American history – more than 111 million viewers.
During an interview Fleming noted, “to offer this audience a completely different style of singing from the great pop and country performers of past years was a real departure for them and a great honor and challenge for me.”
During the broadcast there was an object that was much discussed – Fleming’s gown. The black and white gown created by Vera Wang received a lot of praise throughout. Together with Vera Wang and Fleming wanted to pay tribute to the sport and as a result “the black dress was constructed from a fabric used for athletics, two-way stretch and incredibly comfortable as singing is a very physical act.”
The dress was later donated to the National Museum of American History where it is now part of the museum’s collection that includes dresses from Beverly Sills and many First Ladies among others.
For operatic fans this will be a great moment in history and one that will hopefully lead to more appearances at the Super Bowl.
Relive it below.