The youngest of seven children of a Portsmouth, Ohio, steel- worker and his wife, Kathleen Battle (b. August 13, 1948) learned to sing, play the piano, and read music from members of her family. Battle graduated from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. During this period, she studied music with professor Franklin Bens and taught music to inner-city children.
Battle made her professional debut as a soprano soloist in Brahms’s Requiem at the 1972 Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1975 she made her opera debut with the Michigan Opera Theater. The following year, she appeared as Susanna in the New York City Opera’s production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Her debut with the Metropolitan Opera came on December 22, 1977, in the role of the Shepherd in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. In 1979 she made her ﬁrst European appearance as Nerina in Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata. She also sang the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Pamina in that composer’s Die Zauberﬂöte (a performance hailed as one of the greatest Mozartean charac- terizations of Battle’s generation), Sophie in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Marie in Donizetti’s La ﬁlle du regiment, among other roles.
In addition to being in demand internationally at premier opera houses, Battle has performed as a soloist with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and Orchestre de Paris. She has appeared in concerts and on recordings alongside many acclaimed opera, classical, and jazz performers. Battle has received numerous awards from the music industry (including multiple Grammy Awards) as well as recognition from her hometown.
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"Kathleen Battle," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 26 May 2018 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=35>
"Kathleen Battle." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved May 26, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=35