Opera singer Renée Fleming to speak at commencement

Jane Recker, Arts and Entertainment Editor

World-renowned opera singer Renée Fleming will deliver the address at commencement this June.

The ceremony will be held on Friday, June 22 at Ryan Field in Evanston, according to a University news release.

The critically-acclaimed opera singer, often called “The People’s Diva,” has ties to Northwestern and Chicago. According to the release, she led a master class featuring Northwestern vocal performance students at the Bienen School of Music in 2014, and once served as the creative consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she is now a board member.

Fleming has also worked with researchers at Northwestern in her pursuit to promote further exploration into the effects of music on the brain. She and Northwestern auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus joined forces at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. last June as part of an initiative Fleming began to explore the science connecting music with health and the mind.

Of course, Fleming is best known as a gifted performer. In a career spanning over three decades, Fleming has performed in opera houses the world over, won four Grammys, became the first classical artist to sing the National Anthem at a Super Bowl, has performed at Buckingham palace for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the U.S. government.

After recently singing the role of the Marschallin — one of her most acclaimed roles — in The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Der Rosenkavalier, Fleming will head to Broadway this spring to perform in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel.

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