Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Jessye Norman And Kathleen Battle
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 Aïda, 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.
Kathleen Battle (born August 13, 1948, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA) is an African-American soprano known for her agile and light voice and her silvery, pure tone. One of the most prominent recitalists and opera singers of her generation, she is admired for her wide ranging recital repertoire and performances of the operas of Handel and Mozart. Battle initially became known for her work within the concert repertoire through performances with major orchestras during the early and mid 1970s. She made her opera debut in 1975 and by the early 1980s had become a favorite at many of the world's best opera houses within the soubrette repertoire. Battle expanded her repertoire into light lyric soprano and lyric coloratura soprano roles during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1985, Michael Walsh of Time magazine called her the best lyric coloratura in the world. Although she no longer appears in operas, Battle remains active in concert and recital performances.