Recalling A Revered Singer

BETTY1-articleInlineIt was cheering to see Anthony Tommasini’s tribute in the New York Times to African-American mezzo soprano Betty Allen (pictured). She was part of the generation of pioneering black female vocal artists who emerged in the 1950s and 60s, a select group including Leontyne Price, Shirley Verrett, and Grace Bumbry. The next generation included Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle. Sadly, the ranks of top-tier A-A female singers has diminished since then. Why? I’m waiting for a perceptive music critic to explain.

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