By Jennifer McKee
Opera star and Augusta native daughter Jessye Norman’s first posthumous birthday will be a special one.
She’s the focus of “Jessye Norman at 75: A Celebration” by Black Opera Productions, a 90-minute program with performers, composers and guest speakers sharing their memories of working and interacting with Norman.
It airs at 6 pm EST on BlackOperaFilm.com.
The program features virtual reminiscences from across the country, in addition to performances filmed at Brookfield Place in New York City. It’s hosted by baritone Kenneth Overton; guest speakers include Laverne Cox, Anna Deveare Smith, Richard Smallwood, Judith Jamison, Darren Walker and Harolyn Blackwell, among many others, and special reflections from siblings Elaine Norman Sturkey and James Howard Morgan.
Norman’s longtime pianist, Mark Markham, will read from the Grammy Award-winning singer’s candid memoir.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem will take the stage, along with opera singers and collaborators George Shirley, Simon Estes, Damian Sneed, J’Nai Bridges, Measha Brueggergosman, Karen Slack, Russell Thomas and many others.
Viewers can register for the event at www.eventbrite.com/e/jessye-norman-at-75-a-celebration-tickets-116153649693. Although it’s free, there’s a suggested donation of $35, which goes directly to the artists involved.
Jessye Norman photo courtesy Black Opera Productions LLC. Kenneth Overton @ Suzanne Vinnik for S. Vinnik Photography