African American Opera Singers Are The Best Opera Singers In The World

We all know that African American entertainers dominate the Pop and R&B charts, so it should be no surprise that African American opera singers are some of the most successful in the world, right?! Let’s take a BRIEF look at the history and the bright future of African American’s in opera.


Marian Anderson made her debut on the Metropolitan Opera’s stage in November of 1951 in Aida. Marian Anderson was the first African-American vocal soloist engaged by the Met and she paved the way for many, many more. The award given each year in her name is one of the most coveted and respected in all of music.

Marian Anderson: The One Who Started It All

“GENIUS DRAWS NO COLOR LINE” First lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a huge fan of Ms. Anderson, invited her in 1939 to perform at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, for a crowd of 75,000 people. Ms. Anderson had one of the most respected operatic careers and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. Not too shabby ;) / Via youtube

Ms. Leontyne Price: The Icon

Pictured taking her Final bow at the Metroplotan Opera House in 1985. In 1961, she and Italian tenor, Franco Corelli made a triumphant double-debut in Il Trovatore. The final ovation lasted at least 35 minutes, one of the longest in Met history. Her over 20 year celebrated career at The Metropolitan Opera has left every other soprano in her shadow. / Via youtube

Jessye Norman: The Diva’s Diva.

This is not only one of the best voices of the 20th century, she is simply one of the finest singers of all time. Listen to her absolutely devour this Wagner aria! Miss Norman has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and two National Medals of the Arts! / Via youtube


The ladies may have kicked things off, but the gents have taken the reins. Check out the sick flat top on Bruno Mar…I mean Larry Brownlee! Via google image

Lawrence Brownlee: The King of High D’s

If Pavarotti was the ‘King of the High C’s’ then Brownlee is certainly the ‘King of the High D’s’ and he is the fastest singer this side of the 21st century! Lawrence Brownlee has performed almost every leading Bel Canto role in every major opera house all over the world. He was the winner of both the 2006 Marian Anderson and Richard Tucker Awards, a feat never before achieved by any artist in the same year. / Via youtube

This tenor doesn’t just sing opera either…

His critically acclaimed CD ‘Spiritual Sketches’ is one of the definitive recordings of African American Spirituals. / Via youtube

Eric Owens: The reigning Bass-Baritone, the Living Legend.

Mr. Owens, you better sing for your life sir. / Via youtube

That’s what a MAN sounds like!

A true and consummate artist, Eric Owens is the most respected living American male vocalist. That voice is masculine, primal, and RINGING! Mr. Owens is a recipient of the Marian Anderson award and the Placido Domingo Operalia Competition and is certainly one of the most in demand working musicians alive today. / Via youtube

Denyce Graves: She Moves Mountains With Her Voice!

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, American mezzo-sporano, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim. ‘USA Today’ identifies her as “an operatic superstar of the 21st Century.” / Via youtube

The Up and Coming Stars!

In the past few years, young African American singers have exploded on the opera scene, bringing power, artistry, and brilliant vocalism to the stage. One of the most exciting singers is, Soloman Howard (pictured above) who has one of the lowest voices you will ever hear; Soloman is a TRUE BASS! Here, he is in the new, critically acclaimed opera ‘Approaching Ali’ where he personifies the famous American boxer.

Soloman Howard: DROP THE BASS

It’s like the perfect love child of Barry White and Samuel Ramey. / Via youtube

Ryan SPEEDO Green: The Prodigy!

Bass-Baritone, Ryan Speedo Green, has been on a rampage this year winning nearly every major singing competition in the United States and abroad. Take a listen to the performance that won him the top prize at the 2014 George London competition. Speedo makes his international debut at the Vienna Staatsoper next season! / Via youtube

Norman Garrett: The Swagger

One of America’s most charismatic opera singers is Norman Garrett who is finishing up his second year as young artist at the Washington National Opera. Garrett is the winner of the George London Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation, William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, McCammon, Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, and many, many more. Man! Just listen to that buzz in his voice; absolute fire. The man just sounds like a lion. / Via youtube

Reginald Smith: The Powerhouse.

At only 25 years old, Reginald Smith is certainly as exciting and passionate as any young artists performing in the United States. Reginald is currently an apprentice at the Houston Grand Opera and is racking up wins in major competitions with his extremely powerful and potent baritone voice; we cannot wait to hear what happens for Reginald in the near future! / Via yotube

Issachah Savage: The Wagnerian

Savage is a powerful tenor who is making his mark in some of the most dramatic tenor music. He has already brought his talents to the Kennedy Center, the Houston Grand Opera, and the San Francisco opera where he is currently a young artist in residence. Take a listen to the performance that won him the 2012 Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition! / Via youtube

Courtney Johnson: The New Diva

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A major force on the competition scene, the extremely young and talented 22 year old American soprano, Courtney Johnson has been making a name for herself since 2012 when she was given an encouragement award by the George London Foundation. She is a celebrated young artist in New York City and her future looks extremely bright!


This is where the REAL talent is. Check out their calendars to see where they will be performing and help to support your local artists and opera houses.

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