Obituary: Soprano Jessye Norman, 74

Posted on: October 1, 2019

“Jessye Norman, the majestic American soprano who brought a sumptuous, shimmering voice to a broad range of roles at the Metropolitan Opera and houses around the world, died on Monday in New York. She was 74,” write Daniel Wakin and Michael Cooper in Monday’s (9/30) New York Times. “The cause was septic shock and multiple organ failure following complications of a spinal cord injury she suffered in 2015…. In a career that began in the late 1960s, Ms. Norman sang the title role in Verdi’s ‘Aida,’ Wagner’s heroines, characters in Janáček, Poulenc, Bartók and Strauss operas, and Cassandre in ‘Les Troyens’ by Berlioz, in which she made her Met debut in 1983. She went on to sing more than 80 performances at the Met…. [Her voice] was especially suited to Wagner and Strauss…. One of her most acclaimed recordings was a classic account of Strauss’s ‘Four Last Songs,’ backed by Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra…. In person she cut an imposing figure, dressing dramatically and speaking with a diva’s perfect diction…. Recently she was working on a project called ‘Sissierietta Jones: Call Her By Her Name!’ that paid tribute to Jones, who in 1893 became the first African-American woman to headline a concert on the main stage of Carnegie Hall.”

Posted October 1, 2019

Jessye Norman photo by Carol Friedman