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Image of Jessye Norman

Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002

Jessye Norman


Object Type: Photograph
13 5/16 in. x 9 7/8 in. (33.81 cm x 25.08 cm)
Medium and Support: Chromogenic print on paper
Accession Number: 2013.0005.0054

Credit Line: Gift of Estrellita Karsh, in honor of Mark M. Johnson, and in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Copyright: © Estate of Yousuf Karsh

Jessye Norman (born 1945) Norman rose from modest beginnings to become an opera diva whose dramatic soprano voice and commanding physical stature loom large on the international stage. Educated at Howard University, Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Michigan, she established her operatic career in Europe before performing a series of critically acclaimed U.S. concerts in the 1970s. Karsh commented that she “spoke of her magnificent voice almost as a separate entity—a unique God-given gift—to be cared for, protected, and when necessary, mollified.” He captured her majestic character in a moment of quiet calm, free, as he said, “of prima donna pretense.”

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