JESSYE NORMAN Biography - Musicians


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Name: Jessye Norman                                                               
Born: 15 September 1945                                                           
Jessye Norman (born September 15, 1945) is a four time Grammy award winning       
African American opera singer. Norman is one of the most admired contemporary     
opera singers and recitalists, and is one of the highest paid performers in       
classical music. A true dramatic soprano with a majestic stage presence,           
Norman is associated in particular with the roles of Aida, Cassandre, Alceste,     
and Leonora in Fidelio. Norman is known for the direct and emotionally             
expressive qualities of her singing and for her formidable intellectual           
understanding of the music and its style, as well as first-rate musicianship.     
As a performer, she is known for her magnetic and dramatic personality, and,       
with her imposing physical presence, cuts an impressive, "just enormous" figure   
before audiences. According to Curt Sanburn in Life, Norman on stage creates the   
perception of one who "veritably looms behind her lyrics." Norman's public         
manner combines an apparent hauteur with flashes of disarming humor, putting her   
squarely in the venerable operatic tradition of the Diva, to the extent that       
many credit her as the inspiration for the title character in the 1981 French     
film Diva.