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Feb./March 2011
Vol. 1 No. 5

FAMU Lyceum Series Presents Opera Singer Kathleen Battle

Kathleen Battle

Florida A&M University Lyceum
Series will bring Opera singer Kathleen Battle to campus, Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 4 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Battle’s voice has been described
as one of the “most beautiful in the world” and her music has coveted fans and awards from around the world. The range of Battle’s repertoire spans three centuries from the Baroque era to contemporary works. She has enjoyed some of her greatest successes in the opera house in repertoire ranging from Handel (Cleopatra in the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere staging of Giulio
Cesare) to Richard Strauss. For her Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Battle became the first American to be honored with a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a New Opera Production. She has similarly distinguished herself as one of this generation’s finest interpreters of Mozart as well as the bel canto operas of Rossini and Donizetti.

Tickets are $70, $50 and $30. The committee has made 300 tickets available for students with FAMU IDs. Tickets are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com and FAMU’s Ticket Office located at the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.

Battle’s gifts as a singer extend beyond the realm of classical music. Her work as a great interpreter of spirituals is documented on a joint recital with Jessye Norman, Spirituals in Concert. Her pure emotional power in this music of joy and sorrow cuts through all cultural boundaries.

Battle drew considerable attention with the world premiere of Honey and Rue, a song cycle with music by Oscar and Grammy-winner composer André Previn and lyrics by Nobel and Pulitzer Prizewinning author Toni Morrison, commissioned for Battle by Carnegie Hall on the event of their 100th anniversary.

She has performed the work with leading orchestras and in recitals throughout the world. The Los Angeles Times called her performance of this work “spellbinding,” while the Cincinnati Herald remarked, “her voice was like the ebb and flow of the seas as an almost sacred silence enclosed the auditorium.” The recording of this cycle also includes Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and arias from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

Battle has established herself as a distinguished recording artist through a wide range of releases encompassing complete opera, concert, choral and solo albums on all major labels. Battle has made immeasurable contributions as an ambassador for classical music, performing for presidents and dignitaries, and attracting diverse new audiences through television broadcasts of her operas and concerts, as well as through appearances on popular network talk shows.

Praised for the keen intelligence, which informs her musical sensitivity, Battle earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. She has been awarded seven honorary doctoral degrees—from her alma mater, the University of Cincinnati; Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey; Ohio University; Xavier University in Cincinnati; Amherst College; Seton Hall University; Wilberforce University; and the Manhattanville College.