Jessye Norman, Jessye Mae Norman

Award-winning operatic soprano Jessye Norman (1945–2019), born Jessye Mae Norman in Augusta, Georgia, made her debut at the Berlin Opera in 1969 and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1983. From the age of four, she sang spirituals at Mount Calvary Baptist Church and, at the age of nine, after hearing opera on the radio, she began listening to operatic performances. After winning a scholarship to study voice at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and graduating in 1967, she received additional training at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She had a hiatus from performing during the late 1970s, when she lived in London, England. In addition to having a successful operatic career, she also succeeded as a recitalist, producing award-winning recordings and appearing on television. She also was an advocate for the poor. She died in New York City in 2019.

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Last modified: 10 October 2019