American soprano, Renée Fleming is going, to break through a barrier next month by being the first opera singer to sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl XLVIII. (Go Peyton Manning!)
It’s such a rarity for a classical music artist to play at such an event that the Washington Post anticipates some classical music purists will eventually be up in arms about it. At the same time, it’s not entirely unheard of for classically trained musicians to play at sporting events, but it certainly doesn’t happen very often. Perhaps we can work to change that – especially in a never-ending challenge faced by arts organizations all around the country to put people in the seats of their theaters! This article from the New York Times’ Arts Beat blog mentions a few other performers who were at least (kind of) close to this caliber of musician.
In the same vein as Malcolm McDowell and James Earl Jones’ reading of text messages and Facebook posts, Ms. Fleming has ventured away from the stage into something a bit more recognizably accessible to the rest of the world. Take a look at David Letterman’s Top 10 List from one night last September: Top 10 Opera Lyrics. It’s pretty hilarious – you should definitely watch it!
She’s fantastic, isn’t she? Gotta love a healthy sense of humor!
Photo of Renée Fleming pulled off a google search. Photographer Jonathan Tichler.
The song, Danny Boy, has been in my head a lot this week, so I thought I’d share a few good performances of it here.
Often associated with Irish diaspora, Danny Boy was actually written by an Englishman, Frederic Weatherly, back in 1913. The song itself was originally written to another tune three years earlier, but he changed the melody to be based on Londonderry Air after receiving a copy of it from his sister-in-law.
If you’ve seen the movie, Memphis Belle, (Or love Harry Connick, Jr.) you’ll easily recognize this big band version, but be warned. You’ll also have chills when DB Sweeney appears as that part was also left in this youtube video.
I like this version with the King’s Singers
Over the summer I came across this beautiful version by soprano, Charlotte Hoather, (who also happens to be the first person to follow my blog!)
And because we’re in the middle of NCAA football season, it seems only right to include the Ohio State University Marching Band, a.k.a. The Best Damn Band In The Land, playing Danny Boy at this year’s Buckeye Invitational.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Last June at the Columbus Arts Festival, we handed out packets of forget-me-not seeds at the Columbus Festival for Opera Columbus, which shared a booth with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Thanks very much to my friend, Betsy, for allowing me to use this picture of her forget-me-nots that she planted after the festival.
The Opera Columbus is performing some great operas this coming up season including another Gilbert and Sullivan light opera: The Pirates of Penzance, which I fully plan to see next spring. HMS Pinafore this past June was so much fun!
You can learn more about Opera Columbus at their official website, so I invite you to take a look!
Following is the raw data from the survey I conducted earlier this month: Musical Arts in Columbus. Here are some details on the survey itself.
* Taken June 4-18, 2013
* 192 attempts at the survey: 177 complete, 15 incomplete. 111 online, 66 via paper in person at the Arts Festival. Incomplete surveys are not included in these totals.
* 172 responses were from the U.S. 1 response each came from: Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom.
* 10 Multiple Choice Questions. Number of questions determined by limits on free-survey taking sites. Polldaddy.com was used here because it is tied to WordPress which houses this blog.