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Renee Fleming's Super Bowl National Anthem


g56whiz
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In a word Boooooooo!!!!

She did everything BUT croon it.

She may have pleased her crossover fans and maybe some of the general public but she sure enraged the ol opera queen. For better or worse it's our National Anthem, a patriotic song, not some schlock ditty designed to show off the talent of the performer (or in the case of Rosanne Barr the lack thereof). Fleming squandered the opportunity to restore patriotism to it. I was appalled. Now do I really want to part with $22 to see her Rusulka this Saturday? Fie on her!!!!!

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I did not happen to hear it, but feel moved to comment on g56whiz sensibilities being offended by the use of the anthem "to show off the talent of the performer".

 

This has happened a number of times before with the anthem being sung by Jazz or Gospel singers, and seems not to be uncommon. And the times I did hear that being done, I also cringed at the (implied) lack of dignity.

 

That being said, I would not want to hold it against Fleming personally that she did what many people have come to expect

of the occasion. $22 to see Rusalka live or in the movie houses in simulcast is not an outrageous expense to hear a couple of hours of really wonderful music. It's one of the few operas I've heard all the way through ... a very small regional company hired

me to record their performance of it back in 91 or 92.

 

[the others are kinda of eclectic - Tristan und Isolde, Rake's Progress, Te Kanewa as the Countess in Marriage of Figaro, Boehm conducting Die Walkuere all at SFO; and the regional company mentioned above did Fledermaus, Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites, John Thow's Serpentina, Rossini's Riot Gurl on Mars - a.k.a. L'Italiana in Algeri]

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After reading g56whiz's comments, I watched it again before sharing my own.

 

First of all, I thought she looked FABULOUS! I loved the dress and cape(?) she was wearing. I have no desires of dressing in drag ... but I wish men's clothing could be as creative.

 

I also have one word to describe her performance: BRAVO!

 

As they say, to each their own, and there are some who didn't like the performance. But that doesn't include me. I thought she did a great job, and I commend whoever wrote the arrangement. The military chorus in the background was a nice touch. I agree that many performers in the past did a disservice to our national anthem, but I think this was definitely added a touch of class.

 

Again, Bravo!

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Well... I can see how g55whiz was offended. As an opera buff I also wish that she had taken a more classical approach as in the tradition of Robert Merrill performing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium. However, it was exactly what I expected of her... and an approach that fit in with the atmosphere of the occasion and what the spectators would anticipate.

 

In any event, Fleming has a history of taking such an approach even in opera. Many of the greatest singers have had mannerisms that could be endearing to some and irritating and grating to others. Sutherland had a habit of gliding into some phrases with a soft sliding effect. Fleming does so at times in a similar manner... Similar, but much more in the manner of a jazz or pop singer crooning it before an intimate audience at a caberet. I can think of passages in Rossini's classically florid Armida where she pulls the same stunt. I'm sure that it will effect her Rusalka as well, but I really don't expect it to damage it irreparably.

 

My advice to g56whiz regarding this Saturday's simulcast... If you like the opera you will get your 22 bucks worth... Plus I doubt that she will be performing it with a Super Bowl mentality. Consequently, I think she will keep her mannerisms reasonably in check.

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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Renee and Football

 

Renee Fleming seemed thrown by all the activity around her while she sang. She did include some operatic elements at the end. But, it was a disappointment. The combination of Renee Fleming and conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin are enough to make me want to see Rusalka on Saturday (but it will have to be in a local theater because the Met is almost completely sold out).

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I thought she was amazing. Not being a student of the opera, my comments are from strictly a lay person, which I dare say most of the 80,000 in attendance probably were. I loved it....

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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was very refreshing to see her do the Anthem.....I know nothing about opera and her performance seemed straight-forward, restrained, and well-done....not like some other hot stars-of-the-moment who famously ham it up to the point of it turning into comedy

.

Pronouns: me, me, me

 

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For me, it was just thrilling to hear her sing. Look forward to hearing her in Russalka.

 

 

 

 

I thought she was amazing. Not being a student of the opera, my comments are from strictly a lay person, which I dare say most of the 80,000 in attendance probably were. I loved it....
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I meant to post something about Renee Fleming last evening, but was distracted by the first half of the game and then -- it seems like many I know -- switched to Downton Abbey once it was clear the Broncos were not going to make a comeback.

 

I have heard so many renditions of the National Anthem that I cringe whenever there is a major event and someone notable is supposed to sing. I was pleasantly blown away emotionally by Renee Fleming's performance. Yes, it is our national anthem, and as others wrote on other blogs, first and foremost it was a poem, and later set to music. I am also a great fan of opera - and while she did have a few flourishes that I questioned, compared to past performances, a) she sang on key; b) she knew the lyrics; c) she dressed decorously and respectfully for such an occasion; and d) she was able to pull this off in a rowdy stadium before thousands (and millions on TV) and not miss a beat or a note, so yes, BRAVA!!!!!

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Renee Fleming seemed thrown by all the activity around her while she sang.

 

I saw an interview with her about a week ago talking about the rehearsals for the Superbowl. As an opera singer, she is not as accustomed to singing with a microphone, plus she is totally unaccustomed to singing with the music piped into her. The worse part of it all was that there was a 9 second delay between what she was singing and what she heard being broadcast.

 

As a professional musician, I can tell you that singing along with accompaniment piped in one ear and hearing a 9 second delay with the other ear is HELL.

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I missed Fleming's performance because, strange to say, I was at the San Diego Opera (Pagliacci) when the Superbowl broadcast started, so by the time I got back to my hotel room to turn on the tv, the first quarter had already begun. I was sorry to have missed Fleming's performance, because it had to have been better than the Broncos'. I have always loved her voice, even when she sings music I don't care for, but I do sometimes find her stylistic choices questionable.

 

As for "Rusalka," I sat through the whole thing once years ago, and later tried to listen to a complete recording to see if I had missed something, but I still couldn't see or hear its appeal. To me, it's still just a one aria opera.

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I forgot to mention something that Charlie brought to my attention... While there may have been some questionable stylistic choices throughout her career... Fleming does have one of the most luscious and creamy voices before the public today... and that came across in her performance on Sunday night.

 

In any event, for me it was the highlight of the evening... followed by Queen Latifah's redition of "America the Beautiful"... The less said about the rest of the game the better... even the coin toss did not go off without a hitch... not to take anything away from Seattle, but it just was not a fun or much less exciting game to watch...

 

However, I did enjoy the Tebow commercials... and the Stamos/Greek Yogurt commercial was a hoot as well! Now I know why I have always have liked the stuff...

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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In any event, for me it was the highlight of the evening... followed by Queen Latifah's redition of "America the Beautiful"...

 

Actually, I thought Latifah phoned it in - I was very underwhelmed by her and by the musical arrangement. Fleming was, by contrast, involved in what she was singing, and seemed happy to be there.

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and the Stamos/Greek Yogurt commercial was a hoot as well!

 

Between the obscenely suggestive Stamos yogurt commercial and the menage a trois promotion of the Butterfingers ad a few minutes apart, I wasn't sure what in the hell I was watching for a while. :)

 

I've never been a huge Fleming fan, but she does great in certain repertoires (her Strauss is wonderful) but others she should steer clear from at all cost (and doesn't). I thought she did okay, but I wasn't blown away. Certainly better than most, but that interpolated high note at the end always bothers me. To me, the gold standard of Star Spangled Banner performances was Whitney Houston's in 1991.

 

Here's Renee's version. I'll post Whitney's next for comparison (you can only post one video per comment)

 

[video=youtube;7etXoNrwP8c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etXoNrwP8c

Lee

 

=======

 

A friend is someone who reaches for your hand but touches your heart.

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Wow, it seems like a lifetime ago. Brilliant!! And you could tell that she was really enjoying herself.

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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I didn't see this live, but neither did you guys I'll bet.

 

She was accompanied by an armed forces chorus and orchestra, so there was an arranger involved. (Probably also from one of the service bands.) And I'll bet a month's pay it was pre-recorded. At the very least the background track was pre-recorded.

 

I actually thought the performance was fairly traditional, surprisingly so. But I guess all the bitching about THIS anthem performance is a warmup for all the bitching about celebrations during Olympic medal ceremonies. :cool:

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I didn't see this live, but neither did you guys I'll bet.

 

She was accompanied by an armed forces chorus and orchestra, so there was an arranger involved. (Probably also from one of the service bands.) And I'll bet a month's pay it was pre-recorded. At the very least the background track was pre-recorded.

 

 

My guess is that the accompaniments for both Queen Latifah and Renee Fleming were prerecorded. If I had to wager, I'd say that Latifah was lipsynching (which could explain the low-energy sense I got from her) and that Fleming was singing live (to a prerecorded track). Maybe at some point we'll find out.

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My guess is that the accompaniments for both Queen Latifah and Renee Fleming were prerecorded. If I had to wager, I'd say that Latifah was lipsynching (which could explain the low-energy sense I got from her) and that Fleming was singing live (to a prerecorded track). Maybe at some point we'll find out.

 

I know that Fleming has said she would be singing live. She couldn't stand the idea of lip-synching. And yes, I believe her background track was pre-recorded. And yes, part of the problem I had was the arrangement. And I thought she did fine, but it wasn't my favorite. But I do loathe that interpolation of the high note on "brave" at the very end. And that goes for anyone, not just in this case. That is where the singer is making it about themselves and not about the song.

Lee

 

=======

 

A friend is someone who reaches for your hand but touches your heart.

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I have absolutely no problem with Renee's performance. She delivered it exactly as anyone familiar with her style could have expected she would. She is still in great voice for her age, her high notes were beautiful and she didn't shy away from the range of the piece. I also applauded the fact that, despite her trademark slides, it was still one of the most straightforward renditions we've heard in a long time. I'm just glad they finally let an opera singer do it. It's levels above what we've had to listen to in recent years.

 

I must agree that she looked stunning as well. :)

 

 

Lohengrin

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Here's Whitney Houston's for comparison. To me the gold standard in how to do it.

 

[video=youtube;6wvG5JQA5og]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wvG5JQA5og

 

 

I enjoyed Renee Fleming's rendition the other night--but I must say that Whitney Houston's rendition (on tape) thrilled me more than any other that I have heard. The national anthem is a very hard song to sing. Brava to each of these brilliant artists.

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Put me in the fan column. However, all-time my favorite performance is Sandy Patty's from the reopening of the Statue of Liberty in 1986.

 

 

Wow, Renee should have done that version and proved all the critics right. LOL! Five minutes plus and capped with two high D flats. This arrangement is something else.

 

 

Lohengrin

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