Opera singer Renee Fleming will sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2, the NFL and Fox networks announced on Tuesday. The game and the performance will be aired live on Fox.
The four-time Grammy winner is the first opera star to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. This performance will mark a Super Bowl debut for Fleming who previously sang the national anthem before the second Game of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York.
Fleming, who is also known as “the people’s diva,” is one of the most popular singers in the country and, in July 2013, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for an individual artist. She has previously performed at major events worldwide such as the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the Beijing Olympics.
Some of the performers at previous Super Bowls include Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick, Jr., Garth Brooks, Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Luther Vandross, Jewel, Cher, Faith Hill, Backstreet Boys and Mariah Carey, among many others.
Actress Amber Zion will perform the national anthem in American Sign Language while Bruno Mars will perform in the event’s half-time show at Super Bowl 2014. The pre-game and half-time shows are an NFL Network production and the executive producer is Ricky Kirshner.
Reportedly, more than 164 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year’s Super Bowl, making it the most-watched television program in the country's history.