The legendary American soprano brings jazz and Broadway classics Down Under.

Australian concertgoers will experience one of the most powerful and sumptuous operatic voices of the past 50 years when Jessye Norman embarks on a national tour (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) in April and May 2012, her first visit to Australia in over 20 years.

Since her stage debut in 1969, the dramatic soprano has been renowned for Wagnerian roles as well as for monumental orchestral works including Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songsand Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.

In recent years Norman, 66, has focused on more intimate fare as a recitalist. Her vocal range has lowered to a rich mezzo well suited to the American songs she will present on tour with pianist Mark Markham.

Showcasing her facility in a variety of styles, the program will explore the Great American Songbook, hits by Bernstein and Gershwin (curiously Summertime is not listed… Perhaps an encore?) and a “mosaic” tribute to four grandes damesof jazz: Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Odetta. The final segment will be devoted to Duke Ellington favourites.

Many of the songs – including  Mack the Knifeand It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) – appear on  Roots:...