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Leona Mitchell (born 13 October 1949 in Enid, Oklahomamarker), is an African-American operatic soprano and an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductee.

Mitchell started singing at an early age in the choir of the Antioch Baptist Church in Enid, where her father, Reverend Hulon Mitchell, was the minister. She received a BA in music from the Oklahoma City University, went on to graduate studies at the Juilliard School of Musicmarker in New Yorkmarker, and received honorary doctorates from Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahomamarker. In 1983 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame.

Singing career

In 1973, she debuted as Micaela in Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen with the San Francisco Opera, debuting on December 15, 1975 in the same role at the Metropolitan Opera. She received international attention as Bess in the first complete stereo recording of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra. She has contributed to several recordings, had television appearances, and served as honorary chair of Black Heritage Month of the Oklahoma legislature. In 1988 Leona Mitchell performed the role of LiĆ¹ in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera under the direction of James Levine to rave reviews.

Leona Mitchell currently lives in Houston, Texasmarker with her husband/manager Elmer Bush and son Elmer Bush IV.


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