One of the most distinguished musical artists of our time, Jessye Norman traveled from her home town of Augusta, Georgia to the opera houses and concert halls of the world. As a ten-year-old child she was spellbound by a recording of the great contralto Marian Anderson. Inspired by Anderson's recordings and autobiography, she resolved to become a classical singer herself. At age 16 she won a music scholarship to Howard University. In Europe, she was discovered by the Continent's leading conductors and impresarios.
A dramatic soprano with a special affinity for the German repertoire, she has won acclaim in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. Equally at home in French and Italian, she has enchanted audiences as Bizet's Carmen and as Mozart's Countess Almaviva. For the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera's centennial season, she made history by singing the roles of both Cassandra and Dido in Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz.
In addition to her opera roles, her recitals and recordings have included American spirituals, French chansons and German lieder. From Haydn to Mahler to Schoenberg and Berg, from Satie and Poulenc to Gershwin, Bernstein and Ellington, the breadth of Jessye Norman's artistic range is breathtaking.