"I decided that I would simply embrace [the term 'Diva'], and therefore change the meaning of it, because, if you don’t, then, of course, it’s used in a way that is most unflattering and is meant to indicate somebody that is capricious and just sort of difficult to be around. And I would hope that that is not true."Miss Jessye Norman, proud possessor of one of the finest operatic voices of the late 20th century, is 70 years old today.
"I was always intrigued with the theatre, getting dressed up and putting on a costume and being someone else for a while. [As a child] I liked to put on some of my mother’s costume jewellery and a feather boa or something, and pretend I was some grand singer."
"A person has the right, and I think the responsibility, to develop all of their talents."
"I like so many different kinds of music that I've never allowed myself the limitations of one particular range."
Here are just a few samples to prove that this woman has no "limitations of one particular range"...
Mild und leise wie er lächelt (Isolde's Liebestod) - Wagner:
Beim Schlafengehen (from the Four Last Songs) - R. Strauss:
...and (with one of my favourite video clips, ever) When I Am Laid In Earth (Dido's Lament) - Purcell:
Jessye Mae Norman (born 15th September 1945)