Super Bowl National Anthem 2014: Renee Fleming represents change of pace

Pascal Le Segretain

The Super Bowl has opened with big name acts for most of the last 30 years, but opted to go with voice over name recognition this year.

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The Super Bowl is typically viewed by more than 100 million people, and for that reason represents one of the world's biggest stages for players, coaches and sponsors. It's no different for musical acts. While Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers are two of the biggest musical acts in America, the person singing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII will likely not be a household name in many of those millions of households.

But Renee Fleming is no stranger to performing in front of millions of people.

The 54-year-old opera singer's resume includes the 2003 World Series in Yankee Stadium, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, The Late Show with David Letterman, Sesame Street, as well as appearing on the soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Though Fleming isn't selling top 40 singles or blowing up the charts and winning MTV Video Music Awards, she's got the vocal chops to perform America's anthem and shouldn't have any nerves in MetLife Stadium.

At least, not any more nerves than the usual performers, which often includes names that are more familiar to American audiences.

From Diana Ross to Billy Joel to Cher to Beyonce and to Alicia Keys last year, the Super Bowl's national anthem has been a place to showcase talent that many viewers already knew existed. Perhaps this time it's an opportunity to bring a new audience to an already well-accomplished and under-appreciated voice.

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