In memoriam: Jessye Norman

St. Vincent & The Grenadines 5.11.1997

On September 30, 2019, the American opera singer Jessye Norman died at the age of 74 years. She studied music at Howard University in Washington D.C, which she graduated in 1967 with a bachelor. In 1968 she won the first prize in the international music competition of the ARD in Munich and then debuted in 1969 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Elisabeth in Richard Wagner Tannhäuser. After four years in Berlin, she appeared with various ensembles and has performed at the Milan Scala and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Mid-1970s, she focused mainly on the classical song repertoire and gave recitals, including at the Salzburg Festival. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was heard at all major opera houses and concert halls. Although operas and songs of romance formed a focal point of her repertoire, Jessye Norman also made a name for herself as an interpreter of spirituals and jazz. She has received numerous international awards, including five Grammys.

The video shows Jessye Norman with the last of the “Five Rückert Songs” by Gustav Mahler: “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (I am lost to the world). Recorded with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Zubun Mehta 1989.