Orchestra named to back Renée Fleming at Super Bowl

Orchestra named to back Renée Fleming at Super Bowl


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2014

It’s the….




New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. But they won’t be in the Bowl. Renée will be singing to a recorded track.

Do we like that?


Renée could phone it in, too.


  • Jeffrey Levenson says:

    What else can they do? Too cold out there.

  • Susan Bradley says:

    At least it’s honest about the orchestra playing, but not being there. At the Sydney Olympics the Sydney Symphony were seen to play, but the Melbourne Symphony were heard (uncredited) to play.

  • Brian says:

    I think there’s a good chance Fleming herself will be lip-syncing to a recording. It sounds crazy but they don’t leave much to chance at these events. We’ll see.

  • Tom Moore says:

    it would be absurd to have an orchestra play outside in January. Last year I went to a “Summmer” concert in North Carolina (by the North Carolina Symphony) that was abbreviated due to the unseasonable cold (60 degrees).

  • Eric says:

    It’s not surprising. The Vancouver Symphony had to record themselves for the 2010 Olympics. What happened in 2012 in London at the opening ceremonies with the orchestra there? This is kind of common practice. Besides, it’s supposed to about 35F and chance of rain. Would you want to play your instrument outside? I’m glad it’s a real orch, and not some synth track.

    • MacroV says:

      Actually, IIRC, the Vancouver Symphony refused the gig because they insisted on playing live. So the organizers hired a freelance band (composed largely of VSO members, I’m sure).

      • Reggie Benstein says:

        The Vancouver Symphony recorded all the national anthems used during medal ceremonies. I believe they were not invited to partake in the live opening ceremony but I’m not sure why. Maybe someone who knows can clear this up.

  • John says:

    Weather in Jersey City is predicted to be 38 degrees and cloudy. This is a two-minute deal, watched by people who are mainly just waiting for it to be over so the game can start. Not a big deal. Let’s keep our focus on some things that really matter in the classical music sphere.

    • G Ell says:

      “Let’s keep our focus on some things that really matter in the classical music sphere.”

      Yes, like singing without a microphone or giving up on fake crossover projects. That would be a good start.

      • Janey says:

        Why should opera singers remain on the sideline of mainstream culture? Why should they remain hidden? This is a new mentality in the last 20 years. American singers (and Brits and one well-known Kiwi) have always done crossover projects, including singing for sports events. Now, they are expected to run from any opportunity that might allow the unwashed masses to here their voices?

    • Janey says:

      You do not believe that having an opera singer performing on a telecast with more than 100 million viewers matters in the classical music sphere?

  • Lee Blair says:

    It’s a privilege to be chosen. Considering the temperatures that could exist on game day, I think the NJSO does not mind a pre recording. It’s true that they leave nothing to chance. Wardrobe malfunction, anyone?

  • Expressions of respect are in order. Allow me to note that one of this blog’s commenters, Eric Benjamin, speculated about two years ago on the possibility of Renée Fleming someday performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Superbowl. His remarks were in the comment section to your post on the death of Whitney Houston, 12 February 2012. Well called, Mr. Benjamin!