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Farewell dear Lady , goodbye Jessye Norman

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US opera singer Jessye Norman, one of the most renowned sopranos of the 20th Century, has died at the age of 74.A native of Augusta, Georgia, Norman was one of the rare black singers to reach fame in the opera world.

She established herself in Europe in the 1970s and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1983.

Norman died in a New York hospital of septic shock and multiple organ failure related to complications from a spinal cord injury in 2015, her family said.

Born on 15 September 1945, Norman grew up in a family of amateur artists and sang in church from the age of four. She earned a scholarship to study music at the historically black college Howard University in Washington DC before going on to the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.

“I don’t remember a moment in my life when I wasn’t trying to sing,” she told NPR in an interview in 2014.

She made her opera debut in Berlin in 1969, and performed across the continent, wowing audiences with a voice described as both sumptuous and shimmering. Not an easy role for a woman first and then a black woman in the opera world she had to fight racism, skepticism and prejudices. But natural talent is stronger and always shines brighter.

Norman sang at the presidential inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, and at the 60th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth in 1986.

Ms. Norman, who found acclaim as well as a recitalist and on the concert stage, was one of the most decorated of American singers. She won five Grammy Awards, four for her recordings and one for lifetime achievement. 

She received the prestigious Kennedy Center Award in 1997, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1999, received the National Medal of Arts in 2009, and became a Spingarn Medalist in 2013.

She sang in 1989 for the bicentanary of the French Revolution.

Jessye Norman is a great singer, but she was never grander or more majestic as when she sang in Paris on July 14, 1989.

Though she was known for her opera abilities, she was also familiar with jazz and gospel.

“We are so proud of Jessye’s musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy,” her family said in a statement.

“We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education.”

R.I.P. Jessye Norman (September 15, 1945 – September 30, 2019), and thanks for some of the greatest Mahler performances we’ll ever hear.

I am dead to the world’s tumult
And rest in a quiet realm!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love, in my song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=tFJ3APLllT8