Jessye Norman American soprano 1945-2019 R.I.P.

Jessye Norman American soprano 1945-2019 R.I.P.

The exceptionally gifted black American soprano, Jessye Norman, received in 1961 a scholarship to study at Howard Univversity in Washington, D.C., where she had vocal lessons from Carolyn Grant.

Jessye Norman American soprano 1945-2019 R.I.P.

Born: September 15, 1945 – Augusta, Georgia, USA She died on 30.9.2019 at Mount Sinai St Luke’s Hospital in New York
The exceptionally gifted black American soprano, Jessye Norman, received in 1961 a scholarship to study at Howard Univversity in Washington, D.C., where she had vocal lessons from Carolyn Grant. She continued her training at the peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and at the University of Michigan, where her principal teachers were Pierre Bernac and Elizabeth Mannion. In 1968 She won the Munich Competition.
She continued her training at the peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and at the University of Michigan, where her principal teachers were Pierre Bernac and Elizabeth Mannion. In 1968 She won the Munich Competition.

Debut

Jessye Norman made her operatic debut in 1969 as Elisabeth in Tannhauser at the Berlin Deutsche Oper. She appeared in the title role of L’Africaine at Florence’s Maggio Musicale in 1971, and the following year sang Aida at Milan’s La Scala and Cassandra in Les Troyens at London’s Covent Garden. Subsequently she made in 1973 major recital debuts in London and New York. After an extensive concert tour of North America during 1976-1977, she made her USA stage debut as Jocasta in Oedipus rex and as Purcell’s Dido on a double bill with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in November 1982.

She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Cassandra in September 1983 (or Les Troyens of Berlioz, which opened the company’s 100th anniversary season in 1983). Numerous operatic appearances at the Metropolitan Opera followed, the most recent of these was her celebrated portrayal of the title character in the Met’s premier production of Janacek’s The Makropulos Case in 1996.

On tour

In 1986 she appeared as soloist in Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with the Berliner Philharmoniker during its tour of the USA. In September 1989, she was the featured soloist with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. in its opening concert of its 148th season, which was telecast live to the nation by PBS. In 1992 she sang Jocasta at the opening operatic production at the new Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto. In September 1995, she was again the featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, this time under Kurt Masur’s direction, in a gala concert telecast live to the nation by PBS making the opening of the orchestra’s 53rd season.

Carnegie Hall

Jessye Norman’s 1998-1999 performances included a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City, which had an unusual program incorporating sacred music of Duke Ellington, scored for jazz combo, string quartet and piano, and featuring the Alvin Ailey Repertory dance Ensemble. Other performances during the season included Das Leid von der Erde, with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a television special for Christmas filmed in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia, as well as a spring recital tour, which included performances in Tel Aviv. The following season also brought performances of the sacred music of Duke Ellington to London and Vienna, together with a summer European tour, which included performances at the Salzburg Festival.

Recital

This rich history continues to be made as Jessye Norman e brings her sumptuous sound and spontaneous passion to recital performances, operatic portrayals, and appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber music collaborators, to the delight of listeners worldwide. Her extraordinary repertory ranges from Purcell to Richard Rodgers. She sings a widely varied operatic repertoire, having appeared at La Scala, Milan; the Teatro Communale, Florence; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Stuttgart Opera, Vienna, and Hamburg State Operas; Opera Company of Philadelphia; The Lyric Opera of Chicago; Aix-en-Provence Festival; and the Salzburg Festival.

She commended herself in Mussorgsky’s songs, which she performed in Moscow in the original Russian. In her recitals she gave performances of the classical German repertory as well as contemporary masterpieces, such as Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and the French moderns, which she invariably performed in the original tongue. This combination of scholarship and artistry contributed to her consistently successful career as one of the most versatile concert and operatic singers of her time.

The voice

The vocal phenomenon that is Jessye Norman has long been acknowledged as possessing one of the world’s most beautiful voices. The sheer size, power, and luster of her voice share equal acclaim with that for her thoughtful, provocative music-making, prompting one writer to observe that ”her vocal phrasing moves beyond mere seamlessness to convey a more ardent, spontaneous passion.” Often cited for her innovative programming and fervent advocacy of contemporary music, she has earned the recognition of another writer who describes her as ”one of those once –in-a-generation singers who isn’t simply following in the footsteps of others, but is staking out her own niche in the history of singing.”

Awards

In December 1997, Jessye Norman was invested with the USA’s highest award in the performing arts, the Kennedy Center Honro, making history as the youngest recipient in the Honors’ 20-year existence. Her many other prestigious awards and distinctions include honorary doctorates at the some thirty colleges, universities and conservatories around the world. In 1984 the French Government bestowed upon her the title ”Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris named an orchid for her. In October 1989 she was awarded the ”Legion d’Honneur” by French President Mitterand, and in June 1990 she was named Honorary Ambassador to the United Nations by U.N. Secretary Xavier Perez de Cueller.

Recordings

Jessye Norman’s distinguished catalogue of recordings has won numerous awards, including France’s ”Grand Prix National du Disque” for albums of Lieder by Wagner, Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler and Schubert; London’s prestigious Gramophone Award for her outstanding interpretation of Strauss’ Four Last Songs; Amsterdam’s Edison Prize; and recording honors in Belgium, Spain, and Germany.

In the USA, her Grammy Award winning recording includes ”Songs of Maurice Ravel,” and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Die Walküre. She was winner of an ”Ace” Award from the National Academy of Cable Programming for ”Jessye Norman at Notre Dame.” Recordings released recently are Das Lied von der Erde, with James Levine and Berliner Philharmoniker, and Bluebeard’s Bastle, with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has received four Grammy nominations.

Boards of directors

In addition to her busy performance schedule, Jessye Norman serves on the Boards of Directors for The New York Public Library, the New York Botanical Garden, City-meals-on-Wheels in New York city, The Dance Theatre of Harlem. The National Music Foundation and The Elton John AIDS Foundation.
She is a member of the board as well as National spokesperson for the LUPUS Foundation and spokesperson for The Partnership for the Homeless. And in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia, she serves on the Board of Trustees of Paine College and The Augusta Opera Association. An enthusiastic Girl Scout cookie seller, she is a life time member of the Girl Scouts of America. Jessye Norman resides in New York State.

På svenska

Jessye Norman, född 15 september 1945 i Augusta, Georgia, är en amerikansk operasångerska (sopran).
Norman var en av Metropolitans ledande sångerskor under 1980- och 1990-talet, särskilt erkänd i stora roller i operor av Richard Wagner och Richard Strauss samt även franska högromantiska partier. Även mycket respekterad romanssångerska samt en av alla tiders främsta uttolkare av Purcells Dido i Dido och Aeneas. Jessye Normans artisteri kännetecknas också av ett högkvalitativt skådespeleri och noggrann interpretation. Hon hyser också en stark förkärlek för spirituals vilket har gjort henne till en av USA:s mest folkkära sångerskor.

Priser och utmärkelser (urval)

  • 1984 – Grammy Award för ”Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance” för Songs of Maurice Ravel
  • 1984 – Kommendör av Arts et Lettres-orden (Frankrike)
  • 1988 – Grammy Award för bästa operainspelning: Richard Wagners Lohengrin
  • 1989 – Grammy Award för bästa operainspelning: Richard Wagners Die Walküre
  • 1989 – Hederslegionen (Frankrike)
  • 1990 – Hedersdoktor i musik vid Juilliard School of Music
  • 1998 – Grammy Award för bästa operainspelning: Béla Bartóks Bluebeard’s Castle
  • 1998 – Hedersdoktor vid Harvard University
  • 2006 – ”Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award”

Metropolitan opera

Metropolitan Opera House; 01/30/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275330
Stravinsky {10}
Le Sacre du Printemps {10}
Le Rossignol {18}
Oedipus Rex {10}

Metropolitan Opera House; 02/2/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275370
Stravinsky {11}
Le Sacre du Printemps {11}
Le Rossignol {19}
Oedipus Rex {11}

Metropolitan Opera House; 02/6/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275390
Les Troyens {18}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/8/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275430
Stravinsky {12}
Le Sacre du Printemps {12}
Le Rossignol {20}
Oedipus Rex {12}

Metropolitan Opera House; 02/11/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275440
Les Troyens {19}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/13/1984
[Met Performance] CID:275490 Opera News
Les Troyens {20}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/18/1984
Broadcast
[Met Performance] CID:275620
Stravinsky {16}
Le Sacre du Printemps {16}
Le Rossignol {24}
Oedipus Rex {16}

Metropolitan Opera House; 03/1/1984
[Met Performance] CID:279080 
Ariadne auf Naxos {34}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/31/1984
[Met Performance] CID:279130 Opera News
Ariadne auf Naxos {35}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/5/1985
Broadcast
Review
[Met Performance] CID:279170
Ariadne auf Naxos {36}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/9/1985
[Met Performance] CID:279310
Ariadne auf Naxos {39}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/18/1985
[Met Performance] CID:279420
Ariadne auf Naxos {41}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/28/1985
[Met Performance] CID:279460
Ariadne auf Naxos {42}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/1/1985
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:350752
Norman – Levine Recital
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/02/1986
[Met Performance] CID:287150
Tannhäuser {442}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/15/1987
Debuts: Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Joseph Cahill, Marcello Cipriano, Paul Coffey, Michael Eggar
Review
[Met Performance] CID:287190
Tannhäuser {443}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/19/1987
Debut: Matthew Fish
[Met Performance] CID:287240  Opera News
Tannhäuser {444}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/24/1987
Broadcast
[Met Performance] CID:287270
Tannhäuser {445}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/27/1987
[Met Performance] CID:287810
Dialogues des Carmélites {33}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/21/1987
[Met Performance] CID:287830
Dialogues des Carmélites {34}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/24/1987
[Met Performance] CID:287860
Dialogues des Carmélites {35}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/27/1987
[Met Performance] CID:287890
Dialogues des Carmélites {36}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/30/1987
[Met Performance] CID:287940
Dialogues des Carmélites {37}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/4/1987
Broadcast / Telecast
[Met Performance] CID:287970
Dialogues des Carmélites {38}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/7/1987
[Met Performance] CID:288070
Dialogues des Carmélites {40}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/16/1987
[Met Performance] CID:290020
Ariadne auf Naxos {43}
Metropolitan Opera House; 09/23/1987
Debuts: Paul Frey, Gweneth Bean, Steven Cole
Review
[Met Performance] CID:290060
Ariadne auf Naxos {44}
Metropolitan Opera House; 09/26/1987
[Met Performance] CID:290100
Ariadne auf Naxos {45}
Metropolitan Opera House; 10/1/1987
[Met Performance] CID:290140
Ariadne auf Naxos {46}
Metropolitan Opera House; 10/5/1987
Debut: Barbara Kilduff
[Met Performance] CID:290200
Ariadne auf Naxos {47}
Metropolitan Opera House; 10/10/1987
Debut: Blythe Walker
[Met Performance] CID:290230
Ariadne auf Naxos {48}
Metropolitan Opera House; 10/14/1987
[Met Performance] CID:290270
Ariadne auf Naxos {49}
Metropolitan Opera House; 10/17/1987
[Met Performance] CID:291660
Ariadne auf Naxos {50}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/3/1988
Debut: Barbara Bonney
[Met Performance] CID:291710
Ariadne auf Naxos {51}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/8/1988
[Met Performance] CID:291750 Opera News
Ariadne auf Naxos {52}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/12/1988
Broadcast / Telecast
[Met Performance] CID:295130
Metropolitan Opera Premiere (Erwartung)
New Production (Bluebeard’s Castle)
Bluebeard’s Castle {13} Erwartung {1}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/16/1989
Debuts: Göran Järvefelt, Hans Schavernoch, Lore Haas
Review
[Met Performance] CID:295170
Bluebeard’s Castle {14} Erwartung {2}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/20/1989
Review
[Met Performance] CID:295220
Bluebeard’s Castle {15} Erwartung {3}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/25/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295250 Opera News
Bluebeard’s Castle {16} Erwartung {4}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/28/1989
Broadcast
[Met Performance] CID:295290
Bluebeard’s Castle {17} Erwartung {5}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/1/1989
Broadcast / Telecast
[Met Performance] CID:295330
Bluebeard’s Castle {18} Erwartung {6}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/4/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295360
Bluebeard’s Castle {19} Erwartung {7}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/8/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295400
Bluebeard’s Castle {20} Erwartung {8}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/11/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295440
Bluebeard’s Castle {21} Erwartung {9}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/16/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295490
Bluebeard’s Castle {22} Erwartung {10}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/21/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295810 
Die Walküre {465}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/24/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295870
Die Walküre {466}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/30/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295920
Die Walküre {467}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/4/1989
[Met Performance] CID:295960  Opera News 1 Opera News 2
Die Walküre {468} Ring Cycle [88] Uncut
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/8/1989
Broadcast / Telecast
[Met Performance] CID:299930
Die Walküre {471} Ring Cycle [91] Uncut
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/7/1990
Broadcast
Debut: Ruthild Engert-Ely
[Met Performance] CID:300100
Die Walküre {472} Ring Cycle [92] Uncut
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/24/1990
[Met Performance] CID:303700
New Production
Parsifal {258}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/14/1991
Debut: Wendy Hoffman
Review
[Met Performance] CID:303740
Parsifal {259}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/18/1991
[Met Performance] CID:303780
Parsifal {260}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/22/1991
[Met Performance] CID:303820
Parsifal {261}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/25/1991
[Met Performance] CID:303860
Parsifal {262}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/29/1991
[Met Performance] CID:303900
Parsifal {263}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/2/1991
[Met Performance] CID:303940
Parsifal {264}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/6/1991
Broadcast
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:304110
The MET Orchestra
Ann Arbor, Michigan; 04/30/1991
[Met Concert/Gala] CID:304130
The MET Orchestra
New York, Carnegie Hall; 05/3/1991
[Met Performance] CID:310830
Die Walküre {474}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/12/1992
Debuts: Nina Warren, Elizabeth Byrne, Tammy Hensrud-Kerian, Barbara Dever
[Met Performance] CID:310870
Die Walküre {474}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/17/1992
[Met Performance] CID:310910
Die Walküre {476}
Metropolitan Opera House; 12/21/1992
[Met Performance] CID:311710
New Production
Ariadne auf Naxos {53}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/11/1993
Debuts: Thomas Moser, Michael Yeargan
Review
[Met Performance] CID:311760
Ariadne auf Naxos {54}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/16/1993
[Met Performance] CID:311800 Opera News
Ariadne auf Naxos {55}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/20/1993
Broadcast
[Met Performance] CID:311830
Ariadne auf Naxos {56}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/23/1993
[Met Performance] CID:311880
Ariadne auf Naxos {57}
Metropolitan Opera House; 03/27/1993
[Met Performance] CID:311920
Ariadne auf Naxos {58}
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/1/1993
[Met Performance] CID:312110
Die Walküre {479} Ring Cycle [95] Uncut
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/20/1993
[Met Performance] CID:312180
Die Walküre {480} Ring Cycle [96] Uncut
Metropolitan Opera House; 04/27/1993
[Met Performance] CID:322990
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
The Makropulos Case {1}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/11/1996
Debuts: William Burden, David Robertson, Anthony Ward, Dona Granata, Howard Harrison
Review
[Met Performance] CID:323030
The Makropulos Case {2}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/16/1996
[Met Performance] CID:323070
The Makropulos Case {3}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/20/1996
Broadcast
Review
[Met Performance] CID:323110
The Makropulos Case {4}
Metropolitan Opera House; 01/24/1996
[Met Performance] CID:323190
The Makropulos Case {6}
Metropolitan Opera House; 02/1/1996

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