Introduction: Jessye Norman (03:16)
Jessye Norman began singing in the church her parents attended in segregated Augusta, Georgia. After being awarded a full scholarship at Howard University, the soprano landed a contract at Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Norman: Childhood (03:46)
Norman grew up in a rather affluent African American Family in the Deep South. She began to listen to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on the radio. During high school, a teacher took her to the Marian Anderson Vocal Competition and to Howard University.
Norman: Career Beginnings (03:16)
Norman won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich and landed a three-year contract at Deutsche Oper Berlin. The soprano débuted as Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser." Other operatic performances include "The Marriage of Figaro."
Norman: Other European Débuts (07:13)
Norman performed George Frideric Handel's "Deborah," Guiseppe Verdi's "Aida," and Louis-Hector Berlioz "Les Troyens." Audience members at the Royal Opera Covent Garden best remembered her in the title role of Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos."
Norman: American Début (03:00)
Norman sang in the Lincoln Center's "Great Performer's series." She did not have the same career opportunities in America as in Europe. The soprano concentrated on French and German repertoire rather than Italian throughout her career.
Norman: Concert Recitals (02:13)
Norman took a five-year hiatus from opera to concentrate on performing recitals.
Norman: Metropolitan Opera Début (04:34)
Norman performed Cassandra in "Les Troyens." The French president appointed the soprano Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Norman sang at President Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton's second inauguration.
Norman: Career Flourishing (05:36)
Norman sang in Wagner's "Die Walküre" at the Met and "Liebestod" at the Salzburg Cathedral. The soprano performed in "Oedipus Rex" at the Saito Kinen Festival in 1992.
Norman: Career Highlights (04:58)
Norman recorded Strauss' music and sings at the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as well as the Olympic Games in Atlanta. The soprano portrayed the Narrator in "The People's Passion" in 2002.
Norman: After Opera Retirement (05:34)
Kathleen Battle and Norman sang Vangelis at The Temple of Zeus; Carnegie Hall asked the soprano to curate "Honor!" The Jessye Norman School of the Arts is an after-school program tuition-free in Augusta, Georgia.
Credits: Jessye Norman (00:35)
Credits: Jessye Norman
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