Death of Christiane Eda-Pierre, first star of the black opera in France – arts and culture

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Christiane Eda-Pierre, a French soprano who innovated as the country’s first black woman to make her mark on the international opera scene, has died at the age of 88, her family told AFP on Monday.

She died of natural causes at her home in Deux-Sèvres, western France, on Sunday.

Born on March 24, 1932, on the French Caribbean territory of Martinique, Eda-Pierre immersed herself in the arts from a young age – her aunt Paulette Nardal, author and journalist, was the first black student at the Sorbonne.

She learned to read music from her mother, a piano teacher, when she was still young.

“His first experience with opera was through his grandfather, who knew all kinds of ensemble arias that would stop for performances in Saint-Pierre or Fort-de-France during a trip between Europe and the United States, ”his biographer Catherine Marceline told AFP. .

Arriving in Paris for piano studies at the end of the 1950s, she met Swiss baritone Charles Panzera, who offered to help her integrate the rigorous music school of the Paris Conservatory.

“My eyes almost popped out of my head because I was like, ‘Me, a black girl at the Conservatory, it’s just not possible,’” she recalls in a 2013 podcast.

She quickly made her debut at the Opéra in Nice, in the south of France, playing in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” alongside Gabriel Bacquier, the French bass baritone who died in May.

This earned her a series of major roles in Paris, including the prestigious Opéra Garnier, before embarking on tours that took her to art capitals like London, New York and Vienna.

A highlight of his career was a triumphant turn in a 1977 production of “Tales of Hoffmann” directed by Patrice Chereau.

Her experiences have made her an unwavering promoter of black artists in all fields.

“She said that the more often we put them on stage, the more it would end up becoming normal,” said Marceline.

(This article was posted from an agency feed with no text changes. Only the title has been changed.)

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