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JULY 24, 1898 - AUGUST 13, 1986

Caterina Jarboro, soprano, was born Katherine Lee Yarborough in Wilmington, North Carolina. Like many African American singers of this period, her career covered both opera and Broadway, in addition to recital appearances. Also, like Lillian Evanti and La Julia Rhea, she was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera but was never awarded a contract. Jarboro first appeared on Broadway in Shuffle Along and Running Wild; she made her European operatic debut in Verdi’s Aïda at the Teatro Puccini in Milan, Italy. Her American operatic debut was in 1933 when she was cast in Aïda by impresario Alfredo Salmaggi for a performance by the Chicago Civic Opera at the famous Hippodrome in New York City. She also performed in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine with this same company. Jarboro spent several years in Europe performing various roles in opera houses across the continent until her return to the United States in 1941 when she focused mostly on concert appearances until her retirement in 1955.

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Video Credit: JudyAnn Hargrove

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