Renée Fleming has been described as "the Great American Soprano" and "the people's diva," so, why not? On Feb. 2, the opera star will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

She has majesty of voice, and she's got charisma. If this were another era, Fleming would be on national television all the time. That's the way it used to be for opera singers and classical musicians: Itzhak Perlman on the Ed Sullivan Show; Leonard Bernstein and his "Young People's Concerts" on CBS, into the 1970s. The Three Tenors became so ubiquitous that they were spoofed on "The Simpsons." Maybe you remember the episode: Homer morphs into an opera star and coaches Plácido Domingo, his "third favorite" in the group, after José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

Opera star Renee Fleming, a four-time Grammy winner, will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl Feb. 2, before the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle
Opera star Renee Fleming, a four-time Grammy winner, will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl Feb. 2, before the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato. ( Kiichiro Sato )

In September, Fleming sang the Top Ten list on "The Late Show with David Letterman." (This was one of her lines: "What's this berserk thing / Miley Cyrus calls twerking?") During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, she lit into several arias at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. In 2009, she sang at President Obama's inauguration in Washington. I asked her about it a few months later, and this is what she said: "It was fantastic.... I had sung for the president once before, during the campaign, at the Al Smith Dinner. And he came over to me and said, 'Michelle and I are huge fans of yours, and you're on my iPod.' And I called home and told my daughters, and they just screamed."


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You can't pigeonhole Fleming. As an undergraduate, she sang in a jazz trio. In 2010, she recorded "Dark Hope," an indie rock album. Now, on Feb. 2, you can watch her at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as she pours her majesty into the National Anthem, right before the Denver Broncos meet the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48.

Contact Richard Scheinin at 408-920-5069, read his stories and reviews at www.mercurynews.com/richard-scheinin and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/richardscheinin.