Anastasia Tsioulcas writes at NPR Music for “Deceptive Cadence” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence). Widely published as a writer on both classical and world music, she is the former North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard. She has also been an on-air contributor to many public radio programs, including WNYC’s Soundcheck, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Savvy Traveler, Public Radio International’s Weekend America, and the BBC’s The World.
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.