Renee Fleming
American soprano Renee Fleming poses after receiving the Polar Music Prize from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall August 26, 2008.Reuters

The NFL announced on Tuesday that Renee Fleming will render the national anthem at the Super Bowl XLVIII pregame show set to be held at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey on 2 February.

The Super Bowl 2014 between Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will kick off after Fleming renders the national anthem. Actress Amber Zion will perform the sign language of the anthem.

Usually Pop stars, American Idols and Country music stars used to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl but this time the 54-year-old full lyric soprano will hit the note, becoming the first classical musician to do so in the process.

Several big performers like Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Cher, Faith Hill, Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, Harry Connick, Jr., Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chicks, Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Beyonce Knowles, Luther Vandross, Jewel, the Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera were earlier given the honor to sing the national anthem at the NFL.

Fleming will sing the anthem before the game begins, while Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at the halftime.

Who is Renee Fleming?

Born on 14 February 1959 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Fleming started singing when she was at school. She got her big break at 29 when she won a singing competition staged by the Metropolitan Opera in 1988. There was no stopping after the break, as she was cast in operas from New York to San Francisco and London.

The American soprano was invited to perform at several major orchestral halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood. She went on to sing the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Houston Grand Opera, Mimi in La Boheme with New York City Opera and Cherubini's Medee with The Royal Opera, London.

Popularly known as "The People's Diva", Fleming has won several awards, including four Grammys, the National Medal of Arts, Richard Tucker Award and Swedish Polar Music Prize. She performed at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the Beijing Olympics.