Jessye Norman

American singer and songwriter (15th of September, 1945 -)

Dramatic soprano thanks to her impressive voice, her roles as Aida, Cassandra (Les Troyens), Alceste (Alceste) and Leonore (Fidelio) made Jessye Norman one of the most popular sopranos in the world.

Born in Augusta (Georgia) on September, 15, 1945, Jessye Norman grew up in a family environment of amateur musicians; she discovered her voice in the local choir where her mother played the piano.  

In the early 1970s, after studying voice with baritone Pierre Bernac in Michigan, Jessye Norman – highly acclaimed thanks to her impressive voice - won the first prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1969.

With the Deutsche Oper Berlin, she later made her debut in Wagner’s Tannhäuser before interpreting major female roles such as Verdi_’_s Aida, Gluck‘s Alceste and Leonore in Beethoven_’_s Fidelio. 

In 1983, Norman took her first steps in the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where she became well-known singing the role of Cassandra in Berlioz’s Les Troyens.

In parallel, Jessye Norman sang and recorded German and French repertoires including Berg’s Beethoven and Poulenc’s Berlioz, but also the music of Duke Ellington; she gave a memorable concert in 1990 at Carnegie Hall, with soprano Kathleen Battle under the direction of James Levine.

Jessye Norman has been a politically committed woman: she was invited to participate in various public events, including the second inauguration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1985, as well as to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution – as François Mitterrand’s honoured guest - in 1989, where she sang La Marseillaise at the Place de la Concorde in Paris in front of millions of people.