The Soprano

The Soprano
Matilda Sissieretta Jones

Denise Butler
February 21, 2011  
Dr. Cooper
Education Seminar
7:35 pm

“The flowers absorb the sunshine because it is their nature. I give out melody because God filled my soul with it”.   Sissieretta Jones

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner was born January 5, 1869 in Portsmouth, Virginia.   She was the daughter of the late Jeremiah Malachi Joyner, an African Methodist Episcopal Minister and Henrietta Sissieretta Joyner of whom she inherited her soprano voice.   Sissierettas' family moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1876 when she was just 7 years old for a more improved way of living educational wise and economically.   There, she attended Meeting Street and thayer Schools.   In 1883 Sissieretta began her formal training at Providence Academy of Music, studying with Aida Baroness LaComb.  

At the age of 14, she married David Richard Jones, a newsdealer and a hotel bellman.   At age 18, she attended the New England Conservatory in Boston, Ma., studying with Flora Batson, the leading singer of the Bergen Star Company.   Sissieretta was singing at an early age at school functions and festivals especially at her fathers' Pond Street Church.   She began to gain public acclaim very quickly.   In 1887, she sang for 5,000 people in Bostons' Music Hall in a benefit for the Parnell Defense Fund where she caught the attention of Concert Managers, Abby Schoffel and Grau.

Although Sissieretta made her debut on April 5, 1888 with a concert in New York at the Steinway Hall, Batson received top billing as the “Queen of Soul” while Jones was listed as “Mme S. Jones, New England's Rising Soprano Star”.   Sissieretta did not let that stop her, it was several months later that she got perhaps the biggest break in her career; while performing at the Wallack Theathre in New York, she grabbed the attention of the Manager of famed Italian Prima Donna, Adelina Patti.   During this appearance, according to hear-say, that she was reviewed as the...