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Opera NOVA presents:

Celebrating African-American Opera       Singers Past and Present

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Marian Anderson left a very clear cultural legacy to all of us: African Americans’ cultural heritage


is the Cultural Heritage for all Americans. Opera is the pinnacle of the Arts for all Americans. Go


for it!




Marian Anderson instinctively knew she needed more than the training she was able to get at her


beloved Union Baptist Church. She knew that to hit the stars she needed training. She knocked


on the door of a Music School in Philadelphia and was told “We Don’t Do Coloreds.” She did


not give up; Ms. Anderson stated “I was lucky to find a private music teacher, Giuseppe Boghetti,


who did not care if his taking a black student would lower his professional status.” To continue


her training, he advised she needed to go to Europe, where she learned to compete successfully


on the world opera stage.


















Marian Anderson returned to the U.S. as a world class opera star to be denied to perform in


Constitution Hall by the DAR because of her race. She performed at the Lincoln Memorial – not


for herself but for all of us with a special gift to her African American Family. It was the biggest


statement of EQUALITY ever given.





























Mezzo-soprano Leontyne Price idolized Marian Anderson. Leontyne Price made it to stardom


like a buzz saw kicking racism out of her way. Aretha Franklin studied opera for the last 20 years

of her life, was a trained opera singer and established a scholarship for young aspiring opera


singers. Her voice coach, Callaghan-Lynch, said Franklin brought her “massive soul” to


everything she sang – including opera. The soul singer’s embrace of the art form ultimately


brought opera “to people that maybe would never even hear an opera.”














WHERE ARE YOU IN ALL OF THIS? We understand that the NAACP was very active in


protesting the denial of Marian Anderson to perform in Constitution Hall. Today Opera NOVA


welcomes all organizations promoting race equality. Our concert on January 27th is a Statement


of Equality. Will you be in the audience showing your support and admiration for today’s rising


African American opera singers? The artists will feel the warmth and message of your support.




True doors have been open for them, but so have they for you. Marian Anderson showed us the



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