Über Kathleen Battle
No other soprano of the modern age better typifies the classic operatic diva than Kathleen Battle, whose sublimely expressive voice and fanatical perfectionism have given her a wide reputation that transcends classical audiences. After studying at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Battle's professional debut came at the 1972 Spoleto Festival, with Brahms' German Requiem. That performance brought an invitation from James Levine to join the Metropolitan Opera, where her banner roles and erratic behavior (including tantrums about dressing rooms and the air conditioning in her limo) made her America's most well-known soprano. When she was canned by Met general manager Joseph Volpe for "unprofessional conduct" in 1994, classical audiences were buzzing for quite some time, though the incident likely helped her blockbusting recording career, which has abundant highlights.