Voice of the century

May 08, 1991

After hearing her sing in the 1930s, the great conductor Arturo Toscanini remarked that hers was a voice such as "one hears once in 100 years." By all accounts, Marian Anderson, who made her debut as a young girl singing in the choir of Philadephia's Union Baptist Church, was one of the greatest contraltos the world has ever known.

And yet because she was black, for years her talent went all but unrecognized in her native land. The story of how she overcame prejudice and every other obstacle to become one of the most beloved performers of her time is movingly recounted in a special one-hour documentary entitled "Marian Anderson," to be aired tonight at 9 on Maryland Public Television. We take sincere pleasure in warmly recommending it.

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