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George Shirley is in demand nationally and internationally as performer, teacher, and lecturer. During a career that has spanned more than 50 years, he has won international acclaim for his performances in the world’s great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Royal Opera (Covent Garden, London), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Téatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam), L’Opéra de Monte Carlo, New York City Opera, Scottish Opera (Glasgow), Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera (Kennedy Center), Michigan Opera Theater, Glyndebourne Festival, and Santa Fe Opera. He has a repertoire of more than 80 operatic roles. Shirley was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he remained for 11 years. He has recorded for RCA, Columbia, Decca, Angel, Vanguard, CRI, and Philips and received a Grammy Award in 1968 for his role (Ferrando) in the RCA recording of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. In 2015 President Barack Obama awarded Shirley the National Medal of the Arts. He is also the recipient of the National Opera Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the William Warfield Legacy Award for his dedication to the advancement of African American classical vocalists and the legacy of William Warfield; and this year’s OPERA NEWS Award.

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