Met Opera Orchestra makes history, performing American anthem with baritone at US Open tennis final

6 September 2023, 13:53 | Updated: 11 September 2023, 09:58

Carlos Alcaraz won the US Open in 2022 after defeating Casper Ruud in the final. Musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra are due to play before this year’s final.
Carlos Alcaraz won the US Open in 2022 after defeating Casper Ruud in the final. Musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra are due to play before this year’s final. Picture: Getty images

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The acclaimed Met Opera Orchestra will perform two beloved US anthems with a Grammy Award-winning baritone at the high-profile tennis final.

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Sunday 10 September marks the culmination of the 2023 US Open with the highly anticipated Men’s final, and one of the world’s greatest orchestras will be on the court to soundtrack the match.

The international tennis championships will play host to members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and their music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will accompany Grammy Award-winning baritone, Will Liverman.

The ensemble will perform the patriotic anthem ‘America the Beautiful’ before the men’s final match this Sunday in a new arrangement by John Sheppard and Tetsuro Hoshii. The arrangement combines the much-loved song with ‘Lift Every Voice’, a work often known as the ‘Black National Anthem’.

“To have the Metropolitan Opera, one of the country’s largest and leading cultural institutions, center stage on tennis’s grandest stage is momentous for the USTA,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Brian Hainline.

“Just as this match showcases the greatest tennis athletes, Will, Yannick and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra represent the very best of opera and classical music.”

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘America the Beautiful’, and what’s the patriotic song’s history?

Will Liverman's stirring performance at today's US Open, with Yannick Nezet-Seguin and members of MET Orchestra Musicians.

Posted by Fletcher Artist Management on Sunday, September 10, 2023

Who is performing at the final of the US Open?

While we won’t know who is playing in the Men’s final of the US Open until later this week, we do know who will be singing.

Liverman, a Grammy Award-winning baritone, is a face very familiar to New York operagoers. He opened the Metropolitan Opera’s 2021–22 season playing the lead role in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The history-making opera was most prominently the Met’s first performance of an opera by a Black composer.

The baritone returns to the legendary opera house this season to star in the title role of Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

Liverman will be accompanied by a brass quintet, made up of five members of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra; Billy Hunter (trumpet), Brad Gemeinhardt (French horn), Anne Scharer (French horn), Sasha Romero (trombone), and Weston Sprott (trombone). Their conductor, Nézet-Séguin will also accompany Liverman on the piano. This will mark the first time either Liverman or the Metropolitan Opera orchestra have played at the US Open.

Nézet-Séguin recently returned from the Venice Film Festival, where he attended the world premiere of Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, a biopic about the conductor, Leonard Bernstein. The Canadian music director served as a musical advisor for the biopic and conducted the film’s new recordings, which were performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Read more: Leonard Bernstein biopic ‘Maestro’ sparks 7-minute standing ovation at Venice Film Festival premiere

Will Liverman performs "I Dream a World" with composer/pianist Damien Sneed, text by Langston Hughes

The performances from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Liverman won’t be the only music to have made its way onto the court this competition.

After her round one win, the open crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Tunisian tennis star, Ons Jabeur, who turned 29 the day before her first match last Tuesday.

After winning his first round in the competition, reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz, sang ‘Vagabundo’, a song by Colombian singer Sebastian Yatra who was in the stands that day to watch the young tennis player compete.

Following his win against Taylor Fritz in the Quarterfinals of the 2023 US Open, even tennis legend Novak Djokovic decided to show off his vocal chords, grabbing the microphone off of an event interviewer and encouraging the crowd to join him in singing ‘Fight for Your Right’ by the Beastie Boys.

Perhaps this will be remembered as the most musical US Open in recent memory.