Norman, Jessye (1945—)
Norman, Jessye (1945–)
African-American soprano. Born Sept 15,1945, in Augusta, GA; studied at Howard University, Peabody Conservatory, and University of Michigan.
Renowned for her mastery of tragic roles, expressive power, and rich vocal ability, began singing in a nearby Baptist church; won a scholarship to International Music Competition, Munich, where she earned first prize; signed a 3-year contract at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin and made operatic debut as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser (1969); began radio recordings; made debuts at La Scala in Milan, Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and Hollywood Bowl (1972); 1st sang at New York Metropolitan Opera(1983); sang at many festivals, touring US, South America, Europe, Middle East, and Australia; premiered a song cycle "woman.life.song" by composer Judith Weir; released a jazz CD, "Jessye Norman Sings Michel Legrand." Was the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor (1997).