Madame Florence Cole Talbert McCleave To Be Inducted Into Memphis Music Hall of Fame

By David Salazar

Madame Florence Cole Talbert McCleave will be inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 8, 2019.

McCleave was known as the “First Lady of Grand Opera” and the “Queen of the Concert Stage” during her life. Born in 1890, she was the first African-American woman and opera singer to perform internationally to critical acclaim. She eventually settled in Memphis and ran an opera studio in collaboration with the Memphis Music Association. The soprano would pass away in 1961.

“For three seasons, we have collected hundreds of signatures on our petitions to have Memphis’s opera icon and trailblazer recognized for the impact she has made on diversity and equity in the music world,” said the press release sent out by Opera Memphis. “Now we say, ‘Thank you!’ to each of you for helping us achieve this momentous tribute to a woman who has impacted so many.