Jessye Norman | Photo by John Mathew Smith & from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0

“Regal” is a word that was often used to describe a performance by American soprano Jessye Norman. She just had this amazing presence on stage and on recordings. The round, profound and impressive sound of her voice was distinctive and unforgettable. Norman grew up in a musical family in Georgia and attended Howard University on a vocal arts scholarship. During the 1980s and ’90s, she graced the stages of opera houses and concert halls all over the world. In addition to receiving several honorary doctorates, she also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, and was a member of the British Royal Academy of Music. Jessye Norman died today in New York City of complications from a spinal injury; she was 74.

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