Celebrated artist booked to perform during Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus led by Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director Christopher Bell are two African American sopranos Jonita Lattimore and Harolyn Blackwell. Lattinore abd Blackwell will
A Chicago native, Lattimore was born to Joseph and Benita Lattimore, who are members of the St. Mark United Methodist Church, and an alumnae of Kenwood Academy where she was taught voice by Dr. Lena McLain. It was also at St. Mark during her younger years that she was given a musical foundation. She also was a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Chicago All City High School Chorus that was directed by Professor Irving Benton.
Lattimore made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in in Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagony. She was in the Lyric’s production as Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen and made her Paris debut at the Bastille Opera as Serena in Porgy and Bess. Currently, Lattimore is an adjunct professor of Voice with the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University. Lattimore performed the role of Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Tulsa Opera and recorded James Niblock’s Ruth at Blue Lake Fine Arts Festival.
With Houston Grand Opera, she appeared as Marguerite in Faust. First Lade in Die Zauberflote, and presented the world premieres of Harvey Milk, The Book of the Tibetan Dead, and Jackie Othat was recorded on Decca. Blackwell, a Metropolitan Opera star, began her professional performance in a Broadway revival of West Side Story in 1980.
She was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and became a member of the famous opera company in 1994 when she became a last-minute replacement in La Filled du Regiment. She ultimately became one of the world’s major touring sopranos. Blackwell made her album debut with Strange Hurt that was followed with Blackwell Sings Bernstein and A Simple Song. She has been heralded one of the most charismatic soprano stars on stages in the United States, in Europe, China and Japan.
According to Artistic and General Director James W. Palemo, The Grant Park Music Festival experience is unparalleled. The concerts are free to the public and are scheduled Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.