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In 1853 Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (ca. 1824-1876), known as the "Black Swan," made her New York debut at the Metropolitan Hall. Because African Americans are denied admission to the concert, she gives an additional performance at the Broadway Tabernacle. In 1854, Greenfield sang in a command performance before Queen Victoria of England.

She is the first to receive such critical acclaim, at such a level, but probably not even close to being the first to study and perform Opera music before white audiences.

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12y ago
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13y ago

The answer below is incorrect. First of all, Marilyn Horne is white, although a fantastic singer. Dorothy Dandridge lip-synched to her voice in Carmen Jones. Marian Anderson was the 1st black opera singer to perform at the Met, but she was not the first notable one.

Matilda Sissierietta Jones was probably closest to one of the first African American singers to be noted as an international opera singer. She was a soprano, and Dvorak (a famous composer) wrote a solo for her. She was born in the late 1860's. She was the first African American to sing in Carnegie Hall (It was named the New York Music Hall then).

hard to pin down firsts, but some of the pioneers were or are Marian Anderson (contralto), Leontyne Price, Grace Bumbry, Marilyn Horne, all but Ms. Anderson are still alive but nolonge active. Ms. Bumbry appeared in aconcert with the Middy-Bloused Vienna Chir Boys! I have seen video excerpts

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14y ago

Because of your use of 'international' I would have to say Mattiwilda Dobbs who was born in Atlanta in 1925 and who was appearing in Europe from the early 1950's including La Scala Milan during 1953. The link below will give further information.

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16y ago

Bessie Smith, a.k.a., "the original Black Diva," was the first African-American female blues singer recorded on film. http://www.africanchorus.org/Voam/Voam822.htm

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9y ago

Leontyne Price was the first African American to appear in a televised opera. She performed the title role in Tosca on NBC in 1955.

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14y ago

Given that the history of opera goes back some hundreds of years this is an impossible question to answer.

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15y ago

Kathleen Battle

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12y ago

Marian Anderson

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Q: Who was the first black female opera singer?
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