Opera Wilmington is proud to present Exploring Opera: Celebrating Caterina Jarboro (1898–1986), Wilmington’s First Operatic Diva

Friday, Feb. 23 ~ Saturday, Feb. 24 | Cultural Arts Building, University of North Carolina Wilmington


  • Coffee & Check-In (11:30–11:45 a.m., Grand Lobby, Cultural Arts Building)
  • Welcome & Opening Remarks (11:45–11:50 a.m., Beckwith Recital Hall)
  • Session I. The Making of a Diva: From Katherine Yarborough to Caterina Jarboro (12:00–1:00 p.m., Beckwith Recital Hall)
  • Coffee and Conversation (1:00–1:15 p.m., Grand Lobby, Cultural Arts Building)
  • Session II. Jarboro’s Aida at the Hippodrome and the Struggle for Racial Equality in American Opera (1:15–2:45p.m., Beckwith Recital Hall)
  • Coffee and Conversation (2:45–3:00 p.m, Grand Lobby, Cultural Arts Building)
  • Session III. From Broadway to Carnegie Hall: Caterina Jarboro’s Repertoire (3:00pm–5:00pm, Beckwith Recital Hall)
  • Masterclass with Guest Artist Jemeesa Yarborough, soprano
  • Dinner Break (5:00pm–7:00pm, on own)
  • Guest Artist Recital (7:30pm, Beckwith Recital Hall): Jemeesa Yarborough, soprano, with special guests Marva Robinson and the Williston Alumni Choir, along with the Snipes Academy Chorus, directed by Christa Faison.


  • Coffee & Conversation (9:15–9:30 a.m., Grand Lobby, Cultural Arts Building)
  • Session IV. Remembering Caterina Jarboro (9:30am–11:00am, Beckwith Recital Hall)
  • Keynote Address: Richard Yarborough (Professor of English & African American Studies, UCLA) on his recollections of his great-aunt (“Aunt Catherine”), along with his family’s history in Wilmington at the turn of the century
  • Tony Rivenbark on his personal reminiscences of Jarboro’s return to Wilmington in the 1980s
  • Coffee, Posters & Cape Fear Museum Special Exhibit  (11–11:30)
  • OLLI presents the Met Live in HD broadcast of Puccini’s La Bohème (Lumina Theatre)
  • 11:45am–12:15pm – pre-performance insights by Jerry Nolan
  • 12:30pm–3:45pm – broadcast
  • Closing Reception (4:00–5:30 PM, Clock Tower Lounge), sponsored by OLLI


  • Symposium registration: FREE
  • Friday evening recital: $25 per person; UNCW Faculty $15, UNCW students $6. Click here to purchase tickets online, or call the Kenan Box Office: 910 962-3500.
  • Met Live in HD broadcast of Puccini’s La Bohème: $20 OLLI members, $24 non-members

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Past Productions


Venture backstage and check out some of our shows you might have missed!