Vale, Shirley Verrett

The great mezzo-turned-soprano has died, aged 79, at her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After early battles with racial discrimination in the US, she achieved widespread fame on the European stage and universal popularity among her own profession.

Her autobiography contains prefaces by arch-rivals Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti and afterwords by conductors Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta.

Her loss will be the more intensely felt, coming as it does so soon after Joan Sutherland’s.

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