Jessye Norman gives her papers to Library of Congress

Jessye Norman gives her papers to Library of Congress


norman lebrecht

May 22, 2019

The Library of Congress has announced that soprano ‘Jessye Norman has donated thousands of items documenting her illustrious 50-year career … The collection of about 29,000 items consists of musical arrangements written specifically for Norman, including orchestrations of songs by George and Ira Gershwin and the sacred music of Duke Ellington; business papers related to Norman’s opera and concert performances; publicity materials; concert and opera programs; mockups of album art work; fan mail; recordings; and professional and amateur photographs, providing a visual record of her legacy as a performer.

The collection also contains correspondence, schedules and itineraries dating from Norman’s early operatic career in Europe, through her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, to her unforgettable performance at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games and recent advocacy work with young people.’



  • Esther Cavett says:

    Surely ‘fan mail’ should just be burned ? Does posterity need to see all that ?

  • Una says:

    Wonderful lady and such a singer. Worked with one of her coaches at the Mozarteum, Carl, when there for two months as a student When I was starting out on my far more modest career, she was the soprano for A Christmas Symphony we did at Ely Cathedral in England in June 1978 for ITV television to go out that Christmas and later sold as a video, now DVD recording. I was one in the small group of ad hoc chorus with the Amercan Boys Choir, and learnt so much by watching her and observing how she worked and spoke, from that one time. She was fantastic to us British chorus people but then we do know our stuff too and were well prepared!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Where is the long rumored recording of Strauss’ Elektra with Abbado, the VPO, and her in the title role and that she blocked from release, it is said? Others in it are Dernesch, Studer, and V. Braun, no less.

  • I had the honor of being at her live conversation with LOC Librarian Carla Hayden, at which this was announced. It was truly an amazing evening, with Norman speaking a about the early beginnings of her career, her upbringing in Augusta and so much more!

  • Raúl in Miami says:

    I wonder where the dresses (Wagner at Met Centennial, French flag, Atlanta Olympics, etc) will go???