Popera!

What happens when opera goes pop? There's a grand tradition of opera stars teaming up with pop stars to create memorable collaborations. Here are some exciting examples of what happens when musical genres collide!

Special Projects Advisor Renée Fleming is known for her diverse musical interests. Here she is with the late Lou Reed performing "The Perfect Day" in Prague in 2009. The performance was part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution.

Renée Fleming & Lou Reed singing "The Perfect Day" in Prague, 2009.

Hear her sing a medley from Brigadoon with American singer-songwriter Josh Groban.

Renee Fleming & Josh Groban singing a medley from Brigadoon ("Heather on a Hill" and "Almost Like Being in Love") for a Live at Lincoln Center broadcast on PBS.

The adventurous mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is not afraid to expand her musical horizons. She collaborated on an album with Elvis Costello in 2001, and they performed the title track, "For the Stars," on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Elvis Costello & Anne Sofie Von Otter singing "For the Stars" on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As a native of Sweden, it only seems natural that she would release an album of covers from ABBA and others, written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Here is her cover of ABBA's "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room."

Anne Sofie von Otter singing ABBA's "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room."

 

To celebrate Barcelona being chosen for the 1988 Olympics, pop icon Freddie Mercury and the great soprano (and Barcelona native) Montserrat Caballé teamed up to record a theme song, fittingly titled "Barcelona." They went on to record an entire album together, which would be Mercury's last.

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé singing in Barcelona to celebrate the city being chosen for the 1988 Olympics. 

Luciano Pavarotti was the king of pop duets. His "Pavarotti and Friends" concerts featured collaborations with U2, Lou Reed (another "Perfect Day" rendition), Sheryl Crow, and others. Here he performs "It's a Man's World" with James Brown, followed by "I Hate You, Then I Love You" with Céline Dion.

Luciano Pavarotti & James Brown performing "It's A Man's World."

Luciano Pavarotti & Celion Dion singing "I Hate You Then I Love You." 

Photo: Cory Weaver

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)