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Thread: What would you say are the top best black opera singers of the recording era?

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    Default What would you say are the top best black opera singers of the recording era?

    What would you say the top 5 (or more if you want) are?

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Price
    Verett
    Norman
    Bumbry
    Battle

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Price
    Verett
    Norman
    Bumbry
    Battle
    Is that from best to worst?

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    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    1. Dylan
    2. Dylan
    3. Dylan
    4. Dylan
    5. Dylan

    Lol, I just want to see if anyone on TC will get the reference

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Black singers are still shamefully under-represented in the world of opera, though Marian Anderson, the first African-American artist to appear at the Met, didn't appear there until 1955.

    There have been some wonderful singers since then of course, though I see nobody has yet mentioned any of the men - George Shirley, Willard White, Simon Estes, William Warfield, Bruce Hubbard anyone?

    Personal favourites of mine would be Shirley Verrett and Barbara Hendricks.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    ^^^^^^Barbara Hendricks for me too.
    Last edited by Itullian; Jan-10-2019 at 18:19.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Arroyo, Maria Ewing, Eric Owens, Reri Grist

    Kinda feels weird to rank or compare just because this cohort of singers share an ancestry. That said, I'd take Arroyo and Verrett as the tops in this group.

    edited to add--my list above at the top of my post are just notable good singers that hadn't been mentioned yet in this thread, not my top picks. My personal sentiment has Arroyo and Verrett ahead in this cohort, but many of the others mentioned in this thread are very fine singers.
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Jan-10-2019 at 22:08.

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    I never knew Maria Ewing was black. There was a time in the 20th century when many of the most talented opera stars were African American singers. These women were real stars!!!!!!!!! To have made it big they had to be super talented to overcome the prejudice. I think it was because there used to be good school music programs in schools . I think a lot of black students are just not being exposed to opera the way they once were.
    Now the only big name black singer I can think of is Larry Brownlee. The first person in this thread to make a list did a great job. I think it is fair to say that in her prime Price was the greatest Verdi soprano of her generation, though Gwynneth Jones might have given her a run for the money if she stayed in Verdi instead of the heavy German roles. Price likely was the most successful moneymaker from her recordings as she had many.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Jan-10-2019 at 21:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I never knew Maria Ewing was black. There was a time in the 20th century when many of the most talented opera stars were African American singers. These women were real stars!!!!!!!!! To have made it big they had to be super talented to overcome the prejudice. I think it was because there used to be good school music programs in schools . I think a lot of black students are just not being exposed to opera the way they once were.
    Now the only big name black singer I can think of is Larry Brownlee. The first person in this thread to make a list did a great job. I think it is fair to say that in her prime Price was the greatest Verdi soprano of her generation, though Gwynneth Jones might have given her a run for the money if she stayed in Verdi instead of the heavy German roles. Price likely was the most successful moneymaker from her recordings as she had many.
    I've never understood why Price gets more recognition than Verrett who is my favorite soprano and who I think has better musicianship and technique. She also has equally beautiful voice (and in a similar way for that matter).

    (I've heard it said that Verrett's foreys in the soprano fach were a mixed bag but that's bull....she was just as amazing in soprano roles as she was in mezzo ones)
    Last edited by Baritenor; Jan-10-2019 at 22:37.

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    Oh, there are separate categories for different races are there?

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    I've never understood why Price gets more recognition than Verrett who is my favorite soprano and who I think has better musicianship and technique. She also has equally beautiful voice (and in a similar way for that matter).

    (I've heard it said that Verrett's foreys in the soprano fach were a mixed bag but that's bull....she was just as amazing in soprano roles as she was in mezzo ones)
    Price had a much larger recorded legacy. Verrett left RCA over their unwillingness to record her in Carmen so soon after they'd released a Carmen with Price, and I believe she never got another exclusive record contract. Very unfortunate, particularly since Verrett was right--I would rather have had a Verrett Carmen than the Price one we got.

    Although I am more fond of Verrett than Price, I disagree with you in this respect--I prefer Verrett's mezzo work since I think the best part of her voice was her sexy, growly chest voice, which you hear much less of in Verrett's soprano roles.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baritenor View Post
    I've never understood why Price gets more recognition than Verrett who is my favorite soprano and who I think has better musicianship and technique. She also has equally beautiful voice (and in a similar way for that matter).

    (I've heard it said that Verrett's foreys in the soprano fach were a mixed bag but that's bull....she was just as amazing in soprano roles as she was in mezzo ones)
    I agree with paragraph 1, but not with paragraph 2. Like Howlingfantods I preferred her as a mezzo. In his memoirs (which were edited after his death by his wife) Walter Legge, who knew a thing or two about singers, was appalled to hear she was moving into soprano repertoire. He thought she was the greatest mezzo before the public at the time and that moving into soprano territory would alter her unique timbre.

    I also agree that it is a great shame that she never got to record Carmen, or indeed Amneris and Azucena.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Price had a much larger recorded legacy. Verrett left RCA over their unwillingness to record her in Carmen so soon after they'd released a Carmen with Price, and I believe she never got another exclusive record contract. Very unfortunate, particularly since Verrett was right--I would rather have had a Verrett Carmen than the Price one we got.

    Although I am more fond of Verrett than Price, I disagree with you in this respect--I prefer Verrett's mezzo work since I think the best part of her voice was her sexy, growly chest voice, which you hear much less of in Verrett's soprano roles.
    You PREFER her mezzo work but do you agree that she did an equally good job as a soprano in terms of technique?

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    I like Grace Bumbry.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Price, Bumbry, Verret, Grist and Lawrence Brownlee.

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