I. Guest: Ballet in Leicester Square (London, 1992)
Jones [née Joyner], (Matilda) Sissieretta [‘Black Patti’]
(b Portsmouth, VA, 5 Jan 1868/9; dProvidence, RI, 24 June 1933). American soprano. From the age of 15 she studied singing in Providence, Rhode Island, and later studied privately in Boston at the New England Conservatory, and with Louise Capianni and Mme Scongia in London. On 5 April 1888 she made her début at Steinway Hall, New York, in a Bergen Star Concert. From 1888 to 1895 she toured the USA, Canada, Europe and the West Indies as a soloist, attracting national attention with her well-publicized appearances at the Grand Negro Jubilee at Madison Square Garden and the White House in 1892, and at the Pittsburgh Exposition and the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. From 1896 to 1915 she was the leading soloist of Black Patti's Troubadours, a vaudeville company managed by Rudolf Voelckel and James Nolan, and she toured internationally with this company, performing staged ‘kaleidoscopes’ of arias and choruses from grand opera. Her repertory also included art songs and sentimental ballads. She was greatly admired for the richness and power of her voice as well as her musicality and technique. Collections of memorabilia concerning Jones are in the library of Howard University, Washington DC, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.