Long banned from the Met, Marian will appear on the US $5 bill

It has been announced that the contralto Marian Anderson, racially barred from US opera stages until she was 57 years old, will appear on US banknotes.

Anderson sang Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera at the Metropolitan Opera on January 5, 1955, the only stage role of her noble public life.

She lived on until 1993, playing a full role in the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s.

marian anderson

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  • Apparently Lincoln will remain on the face of the $5 bill and Marian Anderson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Eleanor Roosevelt will be on the back which currently features the Lincoln Memorial where Ms. Anderson sang in 1939 after she was excluded from performing in Constitution Hall in Washington.

    • And it was Eleanor Roosevelt who made Anderson’s Lincoln Memorial appearance possible. As an orchestral musician I always called it “Constipation Hall” for its dead acoustics.

  • What an irresponsible headline. Marian Anderson never aspired to an operatic career (she was offered many opportunities in Europe but declined them all). She suffered many indignities in the U.S. as a result of segregation and prejudice, including, most notably, being barred from singing at Constitution Hall.

    But she was not long banned from the Met; she never wanted it in the first place. Rudolf Bing coaxed a reluctant Marian Anderson to the Met in a role that encompassed only one scene and limited acting requirements. It was a powerful statement, and one for which we have the Met to thank.

    • Indeed it does seem she made the choice not to pursue an opera stage career, but she must have had a pretty dim view of her acting ability if she thought she wasn’t good enough at that for… opera?

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