African-American singers are probably most recognized for their contributions in the R&B and Gospel musical genres- but the truth is that blacks have been a part of the Classical music scene for quite some time- they have taken center stage in operas around the world.
The Root takes a look at some opera singers who are at the top of their game.
Meet some of the opera powerhouses:
- Michèle Crider, Lyric Spinto Soprano- Made her American debut with the San Diego Opera as the lead in Verdi’s Aida. This soprano has made her mark at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City; La Scala in Milan, Italy; and other major opera houses around the world.
- Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor- He’s performed at the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, as well as opera houses in Berlin, Paris, Rome and London. His credits include Daughter of the Regiment, The Barber of Seville and Armide.
- Angela Brown, Soprano- The New York Times described her voice as possessing a “potent, dusky lower register [and] soft high notes of shimmering beauty.” Her show “Opera…From a Sistah’s Point of View” is part of her mission to make opera accessible to all. Her roles include the Verdi heroines Aida and Il Trovatore’s Leonora.
- Noah Stewart- He has starred as Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca. He recently returned from almost two months in South Africa, where he performed the lead role of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with a predominantly African cast. Stewart is now in London performing the role of Rodolfo in La Bohème.
- Karen Slack, Lyric Spinto Soprano- If you’ve seen Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls, you have already seen and heard this West Coast resident. She has performed as Violetta in La Traviata (Verdi’s adaptation of an Alexandre Dumas play) and, in Melbourne, Australia, as Desdemona in Otello. Look for a soon-to-be-released recording of Verdi’s Requiem, where she’ll be singing lead soprano.