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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Few researchers have addressed the issues of racism in the West that were central to the exclusion of African-American and Asian singers from mainstream white opera companies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This chapter examines the alternative careers of some of these nineteenth-century singers. From Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, the first African-American soprano, who achieved some renown in musical circles in the United States and England, to Emma Louise Hyers, who sang operatic excerpts in their own traveling company, to the international success of Sissieretta Jones, the “Black Patti,” the chapter traces the venues and repertory where they performed. Twentieth-century singers whose careers are examined include Lillian Evanti, Theodore Drury, Catarina Jarboro, and Tamaki Miura. The final part of the chapter addresses the question of blind casting and its changing significance as opera enters the electronic realm, with HD broadcasts and DVDs.

Keywords: race, African-American, non-Western, singer, anti-Semitism, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, Emma Louise Hyers, Sissieretta Jones, blind casting

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