Saturday Night at the Movies with Andrew Collins
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The Piano - The Heart Asks Pleasure First
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The award-winning, critically acclaimed dramatic soprano, wowed audiences and critics all over the world, especially in her performances of the music of Wagner, Richard Strauss and Mozart.
Born on 15 September 1945, Norman was singing gospel songs in church from the age of four.
At nine, she heard opera for the first time on the radio and was immediately converted. At 16, she won a scholarship to Howard University in Washington.
She won the 1969 ARD International Music Competition in Munich and made her operatic début in Berlin in Tannhäuser.
In 1970, she sang the role of the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and recorded the role under Sir Colin Davis.
She debuted at La Scala in 1972 where she sang the title role of Aida.
She only made her U.S. opera début in 1982, appearing in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex.
She made her début at the Met in 1983 in The Trojans.
In 1986, she appeared as a soloist in Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs with the Berlin Phil during its U.S. tour.
In the mid-1990s, she began to move into singing mezzo parts.
On 11 March 2012 she performed America the Beautiful at a service unveiling two columns of light at the site of New York's twin towers.
Jessye Norman died in October 2019, aged 74.
Did you know?
Norman may actually have had a rare voice type known as a Falcon, close to a mezzo soprano in tone, but a dramatic soprano in range.
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