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Mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett dies at 79

November 5, 2010 |  5:39 pm

Shirley Verrett, an acclaimed American mezzo-soprano and soprano who was praised for her singing in Verdi repertory staples, has died. She was 79.


Manager Jack Mastroianni of IMG Artists says Verrett had been suffering from heart trouble and died Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. Mastroianni was notified of Verrett's death by the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Verrett was one of the top black opera singers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Born in New Orleans to parents who were devoted Seventh-Day Adventists, she moved with her family to Los Angeles as a child. She studied at the Juilliard School in New York and won a Marian Anderson Award and a scholarship from the John Hay Whitney Foundation. She was a 1961 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

-- The Associated Press