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Marvis Martin is an African-American operatic soprano, best known for her concert performances and recitals, including her renditions of Joseph Canteloube's Songs from the Auvergne, and of Bess in Bobby McFerrin's touring concert version of Porgy and Bess.
Martin was born in Tallahassee, Florida but grew up in Miami, and was singing professionally by the age of five. She trained at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music and received a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. She then studied under Elisabeth Schwartzkopf and was also a protegée of Alice Tully.
Martin made her professional debut in 1981 as part of the Young Concert Artists Series; the New York Times review called her "promising" and said that "at her best she displayed a talent and a temperament that could make her into an important singer." She had her premiere with the Metropolitan Opera in 1982, singing the role of "Pamina" in a touring production of The Magic Flute. Over the next few years, she received "awards, medals and glowing reviews as a song recitalist, concert singer and opera performer." At the Met, she performed in such operas as Boris Godunov, Don Carlo, Ariadne auf Naxos, Porgy and Bess, and Idomeneo.
As her career matured, she spent more time focusing on recitals and concert performances than on opera, claiming, "I love opera, but don't necessarily love all the hubbub." She has also slowed down her touring pace, saying, "I don't think that's a healthy way of life [...] I love going to the next city, but my jobs are spread out nicely."
She is particularly fond of returning to Florida for performances. in 1987, she was named the "Distinguished Alumni" honoree by the Frost School of Music. In 1988, she was awarded the "Florida Prize," a $10,000 award given by The New York Times Company "to a Florida native or resident for outstanding work in the visual and performing arts."