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From Low Points to High Notes

by Brian Manternach



Ryan Speedo Green performing in Aida.
From time to time, an opera singer strikes a chord with popular culture and develops a following outside the realm of classical music. Renée Fleming’s reputation as “the people’s diva” was built, in part, by her TV appearances on the likes of Good Morning America and the Late Show with David Letterman as well as by singing the national anthem for Super Bowl XLVIII. Luciano Pavarotti solidified his celebrity status outside of opera partly through the “Pavarotti & Friends” concerts, in which he performed alongside pop music icons like Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, and the Spice Girls. Other opera singers occasionally appear on talk shows or make cameos on Sesame Street—but, for the most part, their fame does not extend too far beyond the footlights of the operatic stage.

Not so with Ryan Speedo Green. In the last year, the bass-baritone has been interviewed by Harry Connick, Jr., Tavis Smiley, and The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. He was heard on N...
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