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September 9, 2010

Celebrated soprano Leona Mitchell, long out of the limelight, to sing in Baltimore

If you thought Leona Mitchell had retired from singing, you wouldn't be alone. I haven't heard the soprano's name mentioned in ages. But I recall well the great work she did in recoridngs and on the stage, especially at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was a major draw in the 1970s and '80s, especially valued in Verdi and Puccini roles.

Mitchell moved back to her native Oklahoma in the '90s to care for her ailing mother and has been pretty much out of the public eye since. But the soprano, who turns 61 next month, never really abandoned her voice, which, I hear tell from sources I invariably trust, is in very good shape these days. All the more reason, then, to note "An Evening with Leona Mitchell" being presented by Faith Christian Fellowship Church in Owings Mills at 6 p.m. Sept. 19. In addition to a concert, there will be a multimedia look back at her career. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Here's a sample of the soprano in her limelight years:

Posted by Tim Smith at 2:01 PM | | Comments (1)


I was blown away seeing and hearing this and other videos of Leona on Youtube. She sounds, actually, better than I remember her and I always loved her! Can you suggest how I would go about contacting her regarding singing a concert in Fort Lauderdale?

Sorry to say I do not have any contact info. I hope you have good luck with the concert idea. TS

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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