Sissieretta Jones - Trailblazer of African American Classical Singers
Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, known as Sissieretta Jones, was an American soprano. She sometimes was called "The Black Patti" in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. Jones' repertoire included grand opera, light opera, and popular music. Trained at the Providence Academy of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, Jones made her New York debut in 1888 at Steinway Hall, and four years later she performed at the White House for President Benjamin Harrison. She eventually sang for four consecutive presidents and the British royal family, and met with international success. Besides the United States and the West Indies, Jones toured in South America, Australia, India, southern Africa, and Europe.
The highest-paid African-American performer of her time, later in her career she founded the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. She remained the star of the Famous Troubadours for around two decades while they established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States and Canada, Jones retired from performing in 1915. In 2013 she was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.