Lillian Evans Evanti

Lillian Evans Evanti

Lillian Evans Evanti (1890-1967) was the first African American to sing opera with an organized company in Europe.

In 1941 she founded the National Negro Opera.

She was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Armstrong Manual Training School.

She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in music and studied in France and Italy. Evanti, a soprano, sang at the Belasco Theater in 1926 with Marian Anderson.

She debuted in 1927 in Delibes’s Lakmé at Nice, France. As an opera singer and concert artist, she toured throughout Europe and South America.

  • In 1943, she performed with the Watergate Theater barge on the Potomac River. In 1944, she appeared at The Town Hall (New York City). She received acclaim as Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata as produced by the National Negro Opera Company in 1945.
  • In 1963, she walked with her friend Alma Thomas in the March on Washington.