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Jessye Norman, performs at the Opera House October 21 at 5 PM.

Jessye Norman, one of the world�s most renowned African American sopranos will perform at the Opera House on October 21 at 5 PM. Ovtavio Roca, music writer for The Washington Times, wrote; �Listening to Jessye Norman find her way into a song is like watching in wonder as a beaufiful morning reaches the climax of noon. Warmth and blinding light are everywhere in her voice.� This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and this rare performance will benefit the Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS).

If you haven�t had the pleasure of attending a Jessye Norman Performance, you are in for a special treat. Known world wide for bringing her sumptuous sound and spontaneous passion to her recital performances, operatic portrayals, appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber music collaborators is a pure delight to her listeners.

Her very versatile repertoire even includes Jazz. In 1998-1999 her performances included a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City, which had an unusual program that incorporated sacred music of Duke Ellington, scored for a jazz combo, string quartet and piano, and featuring the Alvin Ailey Repertory dance Ensemble. This is perhaps a once in a lifetime event for Detroiters, and an experience to remember for young people.

�I am thrilled that Jessye Norman has agreed to sing for us in celebration of our 50th anniversary,� said Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd, President of Ecumenical Theological Seminary(ETS). �It is particularly fitting because her artistry crosses all musical boundaries from opera to spirituals and even jazz, and her concerts appeal to everyone. In a similar way, ETS stands as a beacon of dialogue and healing across other kinds of boundaries. Those are the boundaries that threaten to divide us: boundaries of race, gender, faith economics, and geography. At the heart of our mission is a commitment to train future church leaders to build bridges of understanding and healing so that we may truly be one community in God�s sight. What Jessye Norman does through her music, ETS does through its commitment to education, diversity, and ministry in the city.�

A major sponsor of the event is AARP. �AARP is pleased to support the 50th anniversary of Detroit�s Ecumenical Theologcal Seminary. The work of ETS in preparing spiritual and moral leaders is critical for our nation�s ongoing struggle towards social and economic justice. And who better than Jessye Norman to lift all of our spirits,� says Jacqueline Morrison, AARP Michigan Associate State Director.

Jessye Norman made her operatic debut in 1969 as Elisabeth in Tannbauser at the Berlin Deutsche Oper. She appeared in the title role of L'Africaine at Florence's Maggio Musicale in 1971, and the following year sang Aida at Milan's La Scala and Cassandra in Les Troyens at London's Covent Garden. She subsequently made in 1973 major recital debuts in London and New York. After an extensive concert tour of North America during 1976-1977, Norman made her USA stage debut as Jocasta in Oedipus rex and as Purcell's Dido on a double bill with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in November 1982. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Cassandra in September 1983 (or Les Troyens of Berlioz, which opened the company�s 100th anniversary season in 1983). Numerous operatic appearances at the Metropolitan Opera followed, the most recent of these was her celebrated portrayal of the title character in the Met�s premier production of Janacek�s The Makropulos Case in 1996.

Like many of our African American superstars, Ms. Norman began her singing career as a young girl singing on Sunday in her church, and performing at various community gatherings. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Howard University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan.

There is lots of excitement and fanfare around the Jessye Norman visit to Detroit. Local fans have graciously opened their homes to host receptions and parties in honor of, and to promote the Jessye Norman performance. The events have been all over the Metro Detroit area; from Palmer Woods, to Bloomfield Hills; attracting Norman supporters from every nationality and culture, city and suburbs. Her style can not be categorized as African American, or any specific nationality, but it can be categorized as one of high quality with an appeal to everyone that loves and appreciates extraordinary talent.

�Jessye Norman is a Living legend, and we are ecstatic over being able to present her at the Detroit Opera House,� said Edith Clifton, Chair of the event. Clifton continues, � One of our major goals is to expose our youth to our �Living Legends.�

A goal which is consistent with Ms. Norman�s community involvement; she is an enthusiastic Girl Scout cookie seller, and a life time member of the Girl Scouts of America. There is something to be said about lifetime Girl Scout members, and former Girl Scouts. They are generally hugely successful. There�s a long list of successful women that are former Girl Scouts; New York Senator Hilary Clinton, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenaw, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Debbie Dingell, and actress Kiki Palmer, and of course Jessye Norman, just to name a few.

�We�re proud to have Jessye Norman raise her beautiful voice in praise of Girl Scouts,� Said Arlene Robinson, Executive Director of Girl Scouts of Metro Detroit. �Ms. Norman exemplifies the Girl Scout mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,� she continues. And we�re very happy to know that she loves Girl Scout Cookies! The cookies are at the heart of our entrepreneurial leadership program, which gives girls the opportunity to develop a wealth of skills that will serve them well as they prepare for higher education and careers. Ms. Norman knows when you buy a box of cookies from a Girl Scout, you never know what great things that girl will go on to achieve.�

Ms. Norman�s busy schedule does not prevent her from giving back to the community; she serves on the Board of Directors for the New York Public Library, the New York Botanical Garden, City-meals-on Wheels, The Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is a member of the board as well as National spokesperson for the LUPUS Foundation, and spokesperson for The Partnership for the Homeless, and others.

She has received 30 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities throughout the world; and the youngest person to receive the Kennedy Center Honor the highest American award for the performing arts. Ovtavio Roca, music writer for The Washington Times, wrote; �Listening to Jessye Norman find her way into a song is like watching in wonder as a beaufiful morning reaches the climax of noon. Warmth and blinding light are everywhere in her voice.�

The Jessye Norman recital will benefit the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, a fully-accredited seminary offering Master of Divinity, Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry degrees. ETS provides education in the Christian tradition while welcoming interfaith dialogue. ETS promotes critical reflection by all members of its learning community, and integrates theology with practice and faith with social responsibility.

The performance will begin at 5 PM, followed by a reception. For ticket information call (313) 831-5200 or visit www.etseminary.edu. AARP is a major sponsor of the event.
 


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