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1 JONES, SISSIERETTA Album Leaf Signed by Sissieretta Jones - African American Opera Signer Also Known As The Black Patti
Providence, R.I. circa 1890s 
Autographed 3.5" x 5" album leaf, Providence Rhode Island. Perhaps the single rarest classical singer autograph!  Sissieretta Jones (1869-1933) known as "The Black Patti". Jones, the true great pioneer in African American women singing opera, achieving celebrity and Antonin Dvorak specifically composed a vocal part for her in his 9th Symphony. Jones was from Portsmouth Virginia, the daughter of two former slaves, her Father a preacher.  In 1876, the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where in 1883 she began vocal studies at the local vocal academy. She was married at 14 to an alcoholic husband who had a number of odd jobs and insisted he manage her career. She divorced him by 1898. In 1888 she enrolled at the New England Conservatory and also traveled to New York for voice lessons with Louise Capianni.  She also made her New York debut in 1888 and was quickly hired by the Tennessee Jubilee Singers and toured in the Caribbean. She was nicknamed "The Black Patti" (in comparison to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti) by the press and though not comfortable with the moniker that she privately found racist and the comparison, which she found difficult to compete with, she was billed with the nickname and it helped build her audiences. As one can see from this album leaf, she was not fearful of using the nickname.  After the 1892 "Grand African Jubilee" at Madison Square Garden here in New York City her celebrity increased and she was called to sing for President Benjamin Harrison and her National fame was complete. She appeared with a group formed in her honor, Black Patti's Troubadors which toured for twenty years throughout the Country. She avoided the Deep South as much as possible.  During her concerts, she would sing in costumed vignettes of various operas, "Faust", "Lucia di Lammermoor", "La Traviata" and others.  The tour also included jugglers and comedians.  Antonin Dvorak met Jones in 1893 and became an admirer of her voice. Jones also toured internationally, the major capitals of Europe and Russia, where royalty awarded her an assortment of medals.  Also South Africa, South America, India and Australia. She retired in 1915, made no records and lost everything in the stock market crash. 
Price: 1500.00 USD
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