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The Latest: Funeral begins for opera star Jessye Norman

Deanna Brown Thomas, daughter of singer James Brown, greets Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members outside Mt. Calvary Baptist Church before going in for the viewing of opera star Jessye Norman in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Latest on the public funeral for international opera star Jessye Norman (all times local):


1:10 p.m.

The funeral for international opera icon Jessye Norman has begun in Augusta, Georgia, where the star grew up.

A musical prelude began the ceremony Saturday in the William B. Bell Auditorium. Norman’s family proceeded into the auditorium following the performance. The funeral is being livestreamed from Augusta.

Actor Laurence Fishburne, who is also from Augusta, will speak during the public service. Performers will include Wycliffe Gordon, J’Nai Bridges and students of Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Norman died Sept. 30 at age 74. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honor and four Grammy Awards.


1:10 a.m.

World-famous performers, civil rights leaders and people who know her good works are gathering in international opera star Jessye Norman’s Georgia hometown for her funeral.

Norman will be laid to rest Saturday afternoon at the William B. Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia, with a private burial to follow.

Actor Laurence Fishburne is expected to speak and musicians Wycliffe Gordon and J’Nai Bridges from the Metropolitan Opera will perform.

Norman’s longtime friend and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan will talk about the singer’s life at her family’s church in Augusta, along with elders.

Norman died Sept. 30 at age 74. A trailblazing performer, she was one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide stardom in the opera world.

The Associated Press