The first Afro-American soprano?

The first Afro-American soprano?


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2017

The day before Leontyne Price turns 90, the Smithsonian magazine has published a feature on Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, a freed slave who made her New York debut in a hall built for Jenny Lind.

Greenfield’s tour did more than prove to white audiences that black performers could sing as well as their European peers. Her tour challenged Americans to begin to recognize the full artistry – and, ultimately, the full humanity – of their fellow citizens.

Read here.


  • Bruce says:

    Thank you. Interesting article — I had not heard of her before.

  • V.Lind says:

    An enterprising screenwriter and producer might make something of this. If you can make an apparently good and certainly successful film out of Florence Foster Jenkins, this story certainly deserves a look.

    Thanks for bringing the story to our attention. And we might well recall that halfway through the last century great African-American artists were being denied the opportunity to sing at the best venues. (And there are some country clubs that will still not admit Tiger Woods or, presumably, President Obama, although the latter suffers from the double burden of being a democrat).