The Day Thread of Jessye Norman (6 Feb 2021)

I thought we could continue our celebration of Black History Month by listening to one of the greatest voices of all time. Jessye Norman (1945-2019) was a commanding presence in classical music around the world for several decades. She had many performances with such companies as Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera of New York, and La Scala.

Outside of concert music, some of her other notable cultural performances included the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Atlanta and the second inauguration of Bill Clinton. She received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2009.

If you have a few minutes, check out this performance of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, his farewell to Romanticism (and ultimately, his farewell to life, as this was his last major work). You may recognize the opening of the fourth song from Wild at Heart where David Lynch used it liberally.

As a bonus, check out this rendition of He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands in a duet with Kathleen Battle.