Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals

Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 9:00pm - 10:30pm

Photo: Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle

Credit: Courtesy of Steve J. Sherman from Everett Collection

Discover the behind-the-scenes story of Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle’s famed concert at Carnegie Hall on March 18, 1990.

Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals premieres Friday, February 24 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV as part of Black History Month. 

With legendary African American contralto Marian Anderson in attendance, many wondered if the two singers would compete or join forces and sing together. Showcasing extended excerpts of Norman and Battle in performance, the documentary examines the preparation required and the historic concert’s enduring impact. New interviews and reminiscences are featured from the concert’s producer Peter Gelb (currently Met Opera General Manager), soprano Angel Blue, author and playwright Darryl Pinckney, arranger and composer Evelyn Simpson-Curenton, Harlem Gospel Singers’ founder Queen Esther Marrow, Fisk Jubilee Singers Musical Director Paul T. Kwami, and jazz and opera singer Jocelyn B. Smith.