black opera singer

Portrait of soprano Leontyne Price in Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni.” Printed on front: “Fayer, Wien.” Stamped on back: “Photo, Fayer, Wien I, Opernring 6. Handwritten on back: "Salzburg, 1960. Don Giovanni.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
Shoutout to the black boys

Shoutout to the black boys who do ballet.
Shoutout to the black boys who are gymnasts.
Shoutout to the black boys who are acrobats.
Shoutout to the black boys that do yoga.
Shoutout to the black boys who are cheerleaders.
Shoutout to the black boys that play soccer.
Shoutout to the black boys that play volleyball.
Shoutout to the black boys that play tennis.
Rugby.
Golf.
Hockey.
Shoutout to the black boys who are models.
Shoutout to the black boys who are poets/writers.
Shoutout to the black boys who cook/bake.
Shoutout to the black boys that are opera singers.
Shoutout to the black boys that are fat.
Shoutout to the black boys that are skinny/bony.
Shoutout to the black boys with eating disorders.
Shoutout to the black boys with mental illnesses.
Shoutout to the black boys with disabilities.
Shoutout to the black boys who are gay.
Shoutout to the black boys who are trans.
Shoutout to the black boys who are bisexual.
Shoutout to the black boys who are asexual.
Shoutout to the black boys with crooked teeth.
Shoutout to the black boys with huge/tiny ears.
Shoutout to the black boys with weird belly buttons.
Shoutout to the black boys that are short.
Shoutout to the black boys that can’t grow facial hair.
Shoutout to the black boys that are afraid to be themselves.
Shoutout to the black boys that never feel like they are enough.

You are enough, and we love you. If they don’t, I sure as hell do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t talented or beautiful, or “not black enough” or “man enough” because of the things you enjoy or deal with in live. You are valid. You are loved. You are important. And that’ll never change.

View of soprano Leontyne Price in Puccini’s opera, “Tosca.” Stamped on back: “NBC photo.” Handwritten on back: “Miss Price in Act II.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
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Kimmy Skota appreciation post 
She is one of my favorite opera singers but look at her, she is a real princess

Happy Birthday Martina Arroyo! (born February 2, 1937)

American operatic soprano.

Portrait of soprano Martina Arroyo. Printed on front: “Robert C. Ragsdale, f.r.p.s.” Stamped on back: “Robert C. Ragsdale Limited, photography. 21 Avenue Road, Toronto, M5R 2G1, (416) 967-3326. Please credit Robert C. Ragsdale, F.R.P.S.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Happy birthday, Martina Arroyo!

Martina Arroyo (born February 2, 1937), is an American operatic soprano who had a major international opera career from the 1960s through the 1980s. She was part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success, and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world.

Arroyo first rose to prominence at the Zurich Opera between 1963–1965, after which she was one of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading sopranos between 1965 and 1978. During her years at the Metropolitan Opera, she was also a regular presence at the world’s best opera houses, performing on the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Colón, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna State Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera, to name just a few. She is best known for her performances of the Italian spinto repertoire, and in particular, her portrayals of Verdi and Puccini heroines. Her last opera performance was in 1991, after which she has devoted her time to teaching singing on the faculties of various universities in the United States and Europe.

On December 8, 2013, Arroyo received a Kennedy Center Honor.

Arroyo was born in New York City, the younger of two children of Demetrio Arroyo, originally from Puerto Rico, and Lucille Washington, a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Her older brother grew up to become a Baptist minister. The family lived in Harlem near St. Nicholas Avenue and 111th Street. Demetrio was a mechanical engineer at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and earned a good salary which enabled Arroyo’s mother to stay at home with their children. His job also allowed the family to experience New York’s fine cultural offerings and the family frequented museums, concerts, and the theatre. It was attending several performances of Broadway shows during the 1940s that first inspired Arroyo’s interest in becoming a performer. Her mother humored her dreams and allowed Arroyo to take ballet classes. Her mother was also a talented amateur classical pianist and taught her daughter to play the instrument. Arroyo’s other musical experiences as a child were largely through singing in the choirs at her Baptist church and as a student at Hunter College High School.

After finishing high school in 1953, Arroyo attended Hunter College where she earned a B.A. in Romance languages in 1956 at the young age of nineteen. While there she studied voice as a hobby in an opera workshop with Joseph Turnau. Turnau recognized that Martina was a major talent who just needed proper training. After the workshop ended, he introduced her to voice instructor Marinka Gurewich, who immediately took Arroyo on as a student. When Arroyo did not take her training as seriously as her teacher wanted, Gurewich eventually threatened to end their lessons. Arroyo said of the incident, “It was a real wake-up call. Up to then, I must have been, in my mind, treating singing as a hobby, a lark–something I loved that I was dabbling in.” She further explained that at that point most of the major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, had never cast a black singer, so in her mind “opera wasn’t a real possibility.” Gurewich’s threat, however, forced her to take her studies more seriously and she continued to study with her until Gurewich’s death in 1990. Another important partnership formed around this time was with concert manager Thea Dispeker who, after attending one of Arroyo’s recitals, offered her services at no charge until Arroyo’s career took off. Dispeker helped manage much of Arroyo’s career over the next several decades.

More on Martina Arroyo

Outdoor portrait of soprano Leontyne Price. Stamped on back: “Leontyne Price. Personal management, Larney Goodking, 30 East 60th St., New York 22, N.Y., Room 1202, ELdorado 5-6560.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
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Community Post: African American Opera Singers Are The Best Opera Singers In The World
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By arewhyan

Are ALL of these singers THAT busy when it comes time to cast someone as Otello or Aida? 

Lina Cavalieri described as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” was an Italian opera singer, actress, and monologist. She was born into poverty on Christmas day, 1874 and died surrounded by valuable jewels on February 7, 1944 during an allied bombing raid. Hearing of an American bomber nearby, Cavalieri was on her way to the air-raid shelter when she decided to run back to the house to fetch her valuable jewelry. This proved to be a fatal decision and she was buried under the rubble of her own home.

Betty Allen (17 March 1927 – 22 June 2009) 

Renowned American operatic mezzo-soprano who had an active international singing career during the 1950s through the 1970s. Allen was part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world. She was greatly admired by Bernstein and the conductor notably chose her to be the featured soloist for his final performances as music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1973. After her singing career ended, she became a lauded voice teacher and arts administrator. (Wikipedia)

Portrait of mezzo-soprano Betty Allen. Stamped on back: “Betty Allen, mezzo-soprano.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library