Friday, November 05, 2010

Shirley Verrett

While waiting for tonight's showtime to come around, I read the sad, sad news that Shirley Verrett passed away today.

The first impression I had of her singing (which blew me away) was listening to her recording of Verdi's Lady Macbeth when I was a freshman at the University of Michigan - I remember being in awe that we had the privilege of having this extraordinary woman teach at our University.

The thing I really appreciated about the University of Michigan was how supportive the entire voice faculty was of every single singer who came through the program at the time. While I was never a student of Ms. Verrett's, I remember her being one of the most supportive teachers on the faculty while I was there. I will never forget her coming to sit in every single opera rehearsal that any of her students were involved in, watching carefully over the development of her brood of singers, and always willing to offer any singer supportive feedback and guidance. She stood by all of us, and one was always left with the impression that she willed each and every one of us to succeed, regardless of whether we were one of her private students or not. Generous, classy, dedicated, protective, and always the epitome of elegance, she was an inspiration to all of us voice majors there. She will be greatly missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Opera scholar Wallace Cheatham has an essay on Verrett's performances of "Lady Macbeth" in the recently published collection "Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance":