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Jessye Norman

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  • Opera singer and Augusta native Jessye Norman made her debut with the Deutsche Opera Berlin in 1969.

    Opera singer and Augusta native Jessye Norman made her debut with the Deutsche Opera Berlin in 1969. Credit: Time Life Pictures-Getty Images

  • Named for opera singer Jessye Norman, the Amphitheatre is located at Riverwalk Augusta.

    Named for opera singer Jessye Norman, the Amphitheatre is located at Riverwalk Augusta.

  • Jessye Norman, a celebrated soprano, sang during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

    Jessye Norman, a celebrated soprano, sang during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

  • Augusta-born opera singer Jessye Norman is an honorary fellow of Harvard and Cambridge universities.

    Augusta-born opera singer Jessye Norman is an honorary fellow of Harvard and Cambridge universities.

  • Jessye Norman made her operatic debut in 1969.

    Jessye Norman made her operatic debut in 1969.

Born into a musical family in Augusta in 1945, Jessye Mae Norman, the daughter of an insurance salesman and a school teacher, grew up to become one of the most celebrated opera singers and recitalists in the world. Inspired by the recordings of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price as a girl, Norman earned two music degrees before moving to Europe to establish herself.

Since debuting in 1969 with the Deutsche Opera Berlin, she has appeared with opera companies all over the world and is internationally recognized as a vocal phenomenon, a true dramatic soprano with a majestic stage presence. During a remarkable career that has spanned more than 40 years, Norman has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including the nation’s highest award in the performing arts, the Kennedy City Honors, the French "Legion d’Honneur" and honorary doctorates from 30 colleges, universities and conservatories.