Black artist history day 28: Opera singer Camilla Williams.
Camilla Williams was born in 1919 to a laundress and a chauffeur. She was the fourth and youngest child of the family. The Williams’ were poor, the music was an important part of their lives. Camilla’s grandfather was a choir leader and she grew up singing and playing piano.
She later trained at Virginia State College, now Virginia State University, and received her bachelor’s in music education. She was then awarded a scholarship to study music in Philadelphia with a prestigious voice instructor, Marion Szekely Freschl.
In 1946 Williams became the first African American to receive a regular contract with a major American opera company, making her debut with the New York City Opera in the title role in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. She continued to sing throughout the United States and Europe with other opera companies and in 1951 she sang Bess in the landmark, first complete recording of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
In 1977, she became the first African American appointed as Professor of Voice at Indiana University. She was also the first African-American vocal teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this series on black artists for Black history month. We’ve covered singers, dancers, actors, musicians, painters, sculptors, poets and more :D I’ve had a lot of fun researching for this project and sharing what I’ve discovered with you.
found @ 30 likes ON 2018-05-26 01:00:03 BY ME.ME