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Shirley Verrett – “Nel dì della vittoria … Ambizioso spirto” – Aria of Lady Macbeth I Act – “Macbeth” – M.° Claudio Abbado Conductor – Teatro alla Scala

by Luca

Shirley Verrett – “Nel dì della vittoria … Ambizioso spirto” – Aria of Lady Macbeth I Act – “Macbeth” – M.° Claudio Abbado Conductor – Teatro alla Scala.

Shirley Verrett R.I.P. (May 31, 1931 – November 5, 2010) was an African-American operatic mezzo-soprano who successfully transitioned into soprano roles i.e. soprano sfogato. Verrett enjoyed great fame from the late 1960s through the 1990s, particularly well known for singing the works of Verdi and Donizetti.
She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1968, with “Carmen”, and at La Scala in 1969 in “Samson and Dalila.”
Beginning in the late 1970s she began to tackle soprano roles, including Lady Macbeth.
In 2003, Shirley Verrett published a memoir, “I Never Walked Alone”, in which she spoke frankly about the racism she encountered as a black person in the American classical music world. When the conductor Leopold Stokowski invited her to sing with the Houston Symphony in the early 1960s, he had to rescind his invitation when the orchestra board refused to accept a black soloist. Stokowski later made amends by giving her a prestigious date with the much better known Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1996 Verrett joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance as a Professor of Voice and the James Earl Jones University Professor of Music. The preceding year at the National Opera Association Gala Banquet and Concert honoring Mattiwilda Dobbs, Todd Duncan, Camilla Williams and Robert McFerrin, Verrett said: “I’m always so happy when I can speak to young people because I remember those who were kind to me that didn’t need to be. The first reason I came tonight was for the honorees because I needed to say this. The second reason I came was for you, the youth. These great people here were the trailblazers for me. I hope in my own way I did something to help your generation, and that you will help the next. This is the way it’s supposed to be. You just keep passing that baton on!”

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