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Classical 101

The Broncos Tank but Renee Rocks

The slaughter that was the Superbowl got off at least to a classy start when Renee Fleming sang our national anthem. I'm sure many were saying Renee who? Others bemoaned an opera singer at our premier national event (for TV at least).  Some were counting the 2 and a half hours until Downton Abbey. If you follow Renee Fleming, and many do, you already know she is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. She is a scrupulous and well-trained musician, and you don't stay the Met's prima diva for twenty years without knowing your business. I thought she sang "The Star Spangled Banner" beautifully. You need an octave and a half range out of the gate! Renee had just enough flourishes to make it her own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_U46iWtIwk I admit being late on the Renee Fleming bus. Her recordings left me bored. She was glitzed up and over packaged and over produced. Then about ten years ago I saw her on stage at the Met in La traviata. She was exquisite, and I was hooked on her live performances anyway. She's appeared twice locally in recent years--at Denison University in recital (thank you, Lorraine Wales) and singing Richard Strauss with the Columbus Symphony. I attended those rehearsals and watched her work up close. The woman has no body fat on her at all, and a torso that's solid muscle. I'll say no more. The sportscasters kvelled a bit, the cheers were lusty and nobody mispronounced  'ReNAY Fleming." You go, girlfriend.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.