Opera Star Jessye Norman Leaves Loved Ones
Renowned Opera Star Jessye Norman Dead At 74
Norman’s passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards.
Jessye Norman, the renowned international opera star whose passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor, has died, according to family spokesperson Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 74.
A statement released to The Associated Press on Monday said Norman died at 7:54 a.m. EDT from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She died at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York, and was surrounded by loved ones.Norman was a trailblazing performer, and one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide stardom in the opera world, performing at such revered houses like La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, and singing title roles in works like “Carmen,” ″Aida” and more. She sang the works of Wagner, but was not limited to opera or classical music, performing songs by Duke Ellington and others as well.
Norman was born on September 15, 1945 in Augusta, Georgia, in segregationist times. She grew up singing in church and around a musical family that included pianists and singers. She earned a scholarship to the historically black college Howard University in Washington, D.C., to study music, and later studied at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.