Shirley Verrett

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Shirley Verrett

Birthdate:
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Death: November 05, 2010 (79)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States (heart failure)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Leon Solomon Verrett and Elvira Augustine Harris
Wife of Louis F. LoMonaco
Ex-wife of James Carter
Sister of David Benjamin Verrett and Milton Verrett

Occupation: American operatic mezzo-soprano and soprano
Managed by: Matti Kullervo Sorakivi
Last Updated:

About Shirley Verrett

A Brief Bio

(1931 – 2010)
       

Shirley Verrett was an internationally renowned opera singer and concert recitalist. Her performances and recordings marked her as one the leading singers in the post-Marian Anderson generation of African American classical musicians.

Shirley Verrett was the second of six children born to Leon and Elvira Verrett. Prior to Shirley Verrett’s birth, the parents had converted to Seventh-Day Adventism and the Verrett children were raised in a somewhat restrictive religious environment in New Orleans. As her first voice teacher, Leon Verrett had the dream of his daughter becoming a recitalist in the tradition of Marian Anderson or Dorothy Maynor. In an effort to escape the overt racism in the south, Leon Verrett packed his family and moved to Oxnard, California in 1943. In 1948, at her father’s encouragement, Verrett entered and won a preliminary round of the Atwater Kent Vocal Competition. She was heard by celebrated baritone John Charles Thomas who offered her the opportunity to study voice with the celebrated soprano Lotte Lehman at the Music Academy of the West, but Verrett turned down the offer down. The following year she matriculated at the Seventh-Day Adventist’s Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, but stayed only one semester before returning to Los Angeles to become engaged to real estate broker and sheriff deputy, James Carter.

She and Carter married in 1951 and Verrett sold real estate for several years in the San Fernando Valley.

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Shirley Verrett's Timeline

1931
May 31, 1931
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
2010
November 5, 2010
Age 79
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States