SARASOTA- Sarasota Fans are remembering opera trailblazer Jessye Norman this week and say she was just as kind as she was talented. 

Norman died Monday at the age of 74 after years of delighting audiences around the world. Marketing Director of the Sarasota Opera Carlos Vicente got to see her perform when he was an opera student in Rio de Janeiro.

“Me and my roommate were the first in line to get the free tickets from the University,” Vicente said. “So we get there and we’re sitting all the way in the balcony and it was absolutely beautiful.”

After the show, Norman set up a table on the stage for a meet and greet with students.

“I realize that my friend who was a diehard friend of Jessye Norman had brought all of his CD covers,” Vicente said. “All of his CD covers, I’m not talking like 10, I’m talking like 50.”

At the end of the meet and greet Norman stayed and signed every cover.

“While she’s doing that,” Vicente said. “She’s talking to us, and not about her, she’s asking us about our experience as music students in Brazil, she’s telling us how beautiful she thought Rio was, and as we’re sitting there we’re looking at her and not believing that we are in the presence of such an important Diva.”

Vicente says it was her talent and kindness that helped him believe a person of color could have a successful opera career.

“She had been preceded by some other wonderful people of color that were on the stage of the big opera houses in the world,” Vicente said. “But there was still a lot to go at that point, she succeeded and then some.”

Norman’s Voice will be greatly missed.