Chi-chi Nwanoku on Jessye Norman
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Description
On the 11th June 1988 Jessye Norman performed a spine-tingling rendition of 'Amazing Grace' to a packed Wembley Stadium, bringing to a close a concert marking the seventieth birthday of Nelson Mandela. By this point her career Jessye Norman was a global icon of opera, best-known for her performances in works by Wagner, Verdi and Mozart. She refused to take the parts traditionally offered to Black singers and once said that pigeonholes were only for pigeons. She would sing, in fact, whatever she liked. Double-bassist and founder of the Chineke! Orchestra Chi-chi Nwanoku was driving back from a concert when she first heard Jessye Norman singing on the radio. She remembers being so struck by her voice that she had to pull over and wait until the performance had finished before continuing her journey. Chi-chi and presenter Matthew Parris explore some of Jessye Norman's work and recordings, and her views on what it means to be a Black woman in classical music. Chi-chi and Matthew are joined by Kira Thurman, Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Michigan to help map out the key moments and decisions in Jessye Norman's extraordinary life. Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Toby Field
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