Black history fact of the week: Opera's Leona Mitchell

OW Staff | 10/6/2010, 5 p.m.

She came from a very large family--she the 10th child of 15, and began her career in music singing in her father's church choir.

After receiving her degree in music from Oklahoma City University, Mitchell became one of the top opera performers in the world, singing in Geneva, Paris, Madrid, and Sydney. Her debut with the San Francisco opera in 1972 catapulted her career to unimaginable heights.

She performed for four U.S. presidents: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. The classical singer has also been a part of world renown orchestras including the London Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Mitchell is married to Elmer Bush III.

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