Discussion in 'Black Entertainment' started by dunwiddat, Sep 23, 2012.
Mattiwilda Dobbs (b. 1925)
Dobbs's exceptional vocal gifts and musical skill enabled her to cross color barriers to become an internationally known opera star. TheAtlanta native was the first African American to sing at La Scala in Milan, Italy, and the first black woman to be offered a long-term contract by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
Named for her maternal grandmother, Mattie Wilda Sykes, Mattiwilda Dobbs was born on July 11, 1925. She was the fifth of six daughters born to Irene Ophelia Thompson and John Wesley Dobbs, who were leaders in the African American community of Atlanta's Auburn Avenue area. Like her sisters, she began piano lessons at the age of seven, sang in community and church choirs, and attended Spelman College, where she began to study voice. Naturally shy, she was so nervous at her first solo appearances that she had to lean on the piano for support, but her unusual talent and quality of voice persuaded her father to fund further studies in New York. She studied with Lotte Leonard and won a Marian Anderson Award, among other scholarships, and a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, which enabled her to study in Europe...
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