Birthplace: Portsmouth, Ohio
Best known for her obnoxious treatment of colleagues backstage, she began her career teaching music in an inner-city elementary school. Her early performances won her critical and public acclaim, and led her to work with her mentor, James Levine. Her later transformation into a diva was capped by her firing from the Metropolitan Opera's production of The Daughter of the Regiment (1994), which left her without a contract to any major opera company. She continues to expand her classical repertoire and record albums, including Angel Visits (1993) and Christmas Celebration.