In the '60s, Aretha Franklin became known as the Queen of Soul, but these days, she might more accurately be described as an Empress. It isn't just that her gospel-schooled singing style has influenced a whole generation of singers, from Annie Lennox to Mary J. Blige; Franklin has also significantly expanded both her repertoire and her audience.
Her current album, "A Rose Is Still a Rose," finds her applying that legendary voice to hip-hop rhythms, as if to prove that she can throw down as well as any of the current generation. But that isn't all she can do. During this year's Grammy Awards broadcast, she filled in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti, offering an impassioned rendition of Puccini's "Nessun dorma" (from "Turandot"). With stylistic range like that, it's no wonder she was chosen to close out this year's Columbia Festival of the Arts.
Franklin plays Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $25 for pavilion seating, $15 for the lawn. Call 410-481-6500.
Pub Date: 6/18/98