past event

The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series: Remembering Jessye Norman

The world lost legendary opera singer and activist Jessye Norman this past September but her legacy and impact will forever be a part of this nation’s artistic and cultural history. Join internationally-renowned soprano Renée Fleming, internationally recognized director Francesca Zambello and Aspen Institute Executive Vice President Eric L. Motley as they discuss Norman’s influence on their lives as well as the professional and historical impact she had on the world.

Monday, January 27, 2020 | 6:00-8:00 p.m. | The Aspen Institute, 2300 N St. NW

Renée Fleming is one of the most highly-acclaimed singers of our time. Winner of the US National Medal of Arts and four Grammy® awards, she sings in the world’s greatest opera houses, concert halls, and theaters. In 2014, she brought her voice to a vast new audience as the only classical artist ever to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. As Artistic Advisor to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Renée spearheads a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health focused on music, health, and neuroscience. In 2019, she was named co-director of the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS. Her honors include the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Award, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and honorary doctorates from Northwestern, Duke, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon Universities, the University of Pennsylvania, The Eastman School of Music, and The Juilliard School.

Internationally recognized director of opera and theater Francesca Zambello is the Artistic Director of Washington National Opera, a post she has held since 2012. She has directed many WNO productions, including Of Mice and Men (debut in 2001), Fidelio, Billy Budd, Porgy and Bess, Salome, Show Boat, The Force of Destiny, the world premiere children’s opera The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Florencia in the Amazon, The Little Prince, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Dead Man Walking, Aida, and Candide. In the spring of 2016, she also directed WNO’s first-ever complete Ring cycles, and brought the production to San Francisco Opera in 2018. Since September 2010 she has also been the Artistic and General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival in Central New York. Inducted in 2018 as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Zambello’s honors and awards also include the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia, two Helpmann Awards in Australia, and the Medallion Society Award from San Francisco Opera for 30 years of artistic service.

Eric L. Motley, Ph.D., is an executive vice president and Corporate Secretary at the Aspen Institute, responsible for Institutional Advancement and governance. He previously served as Vice President and Managing Director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program and Director of the Aspen-Rockefeller Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process. Prior to joining the Institute, he served as the Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors within the bureau of Public Diplomacy. In 2003, he became Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Presidential Personnel at the White House.

The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series is made possible with the generous support of Michelle Smith and the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.
Event information
Mon Jan 27, 2020
6:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
Aspen Institute
Washington, DC