Entertainment & Arts

Super Bowl XLVIII: New Jersey Symphony to accompany Renee Fleming

Renee Fleming
Renee Fleming, shown here performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2013, will sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl backed by members of military choirs and choruses and recorded music from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
(Craig T. Mathew / Mathew Imaging)

When soprano Renée Fleming takes to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl, she will sing to music performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

But the accompaniment will be a recording, not a live orchestral performance.

The New Jersey Symphony confirmed Wednesday that it will provide a recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that will play as Fleming performs before the game. The soprano also will be joined by a 32-voice group from military choruses and choirs, according to a Wednesday report in the New York Times.

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Fleming will sing an arrangement by Rob Mathes, according to the report. The soprano will be the first opera singer to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl, which has traditionally relied on pop stars, like Alicia Keys last year.

The Super Bowl is to be broadcast on Fox, with kickoff time scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PST. (Fleming’s performance is expected to be minutes prior to kickoff.) The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks for football’s biggest title.

The New Jersey Symphony, which is led by music director Jacques Lacombe, normally plays at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Fleming, who is performing Dvorak’s “Rusalka” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, has sung at many notable national events, including a ceremony for the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 and at the World Series in 2003.


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the poem that serves as the basis of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Francis Scott Key wrote the words in 1814 during the British bombardment of Baltimore’s Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812.


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