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Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in News | 0 comments

RIP Camilla Williams

(Associated Press) African-American opera pioneer Camilla Williams has died in Bloomington. She was 92.

The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music says Williams died Sunday. The cause of her death was not immediately released.

The school says the soprano became the first African-American female to appear with a major U.S. opera company when she debuted on May 15, 1946, with New York City Opera in the title role of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

She became the first African-American professor of voice at IU in 1977 and retired in 1997.

Williams was born in Danville, Va., on Oct. 18, 1919, the daughter of a chauffeur. Her grandfather was a singer and choir leader, and by age 8 she was singing in Danville’s Calvary Baptist Church.

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