Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The Washinton Post has called Portsmouth-born soprano Kathleen Battle “the ethereal beauty of winter moonlight.” Enjoying a career of more than 30 years, the five-time Grammy winner will perform at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown, N.J., on May 4.
Born in Portsmouth, Battle is the youngest of seven children. She sang in church and school, and envisioned a future as a music teacher. She was instead destined for bigger things, and has enjoyed some of her greatest successes in the opera house in repertoire ranging from Handel to Richard Strauss.
Battle earned both her Bachelor and Master degrees from the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. She has been awarded seven honorary doctoral degrees-from her Alma Mater, the University of Cincinnati; Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey; Ohio University; Xavier University in Cincinnati; Amherst College; Seton Hall University, Wilberforce University, and the Manhattanville College. In honor of her outstanding artistic achievements, Battle was inducted into the “NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame” and in 2002 into the “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.” She is the first recipient of the “Ray Charles Award” bestowed upon her by Wilberforce University.
Battle has performed for Presidents and dignitaries, and attracted diverse new audiences through television broadcasts of her operas and concerts, as well as through appearances on popular network talk shows.
Her performance on the PBS broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s 1991 season opening gala won her an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Classical Program on Television. A documentary film on the recording of Sony’s Baroque Duet album with Wynton Marsalis and John Nelson conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke’s was nominated for an Emmy. Miss Battle’s critically acclaimed “Metropolitan Opera Presents” performances of Mozart’s Die Zauberflšte and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore are available on DG VHS and DVD, while Sony has captured her Zerlina in Karajan’s production of Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival as well.
Battle was the first local celebrity to sign her name to the Portsmouth Floodwall of Stars when it began in 1991. She last performed in Portsmouth at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts in September of 2006.
Battle will perform at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown, N.J., at 8 p.m. on May 4. Tickets are available between $49 and $79, and are available online at www.mayoarts.org or by contacting the box office at 973-539-8008.
Kathleen Battle is also available online, at www.kathleenbattle.com.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.