Evanti [Tibbs; née Evans], Lillian
- Karen M. Bryan
(b Washington, DC, Nov 12, 1890; d Washington, DC, Dec 6, 1967). American soprano. A native of Washington, DC, Evanti received her early education at Armstrong Technical High School (founded by her father, Dr. Wilson Evans) and earned a teaching degree. After a brief time as a teacher, she enrolled at Howard University, earning a bachelor’s degree in music in 1917. In 1918 she married Roy W. Tibbs, professor of piano at Howard, and derived her stage name by combining her birth and married names. She made her singing debut that same year and embarked on a European career, making her debut at Nice in 1925. Reputed to be the first African American to appear with a European company, she sang at opera houses in Paris, Nice, Milan, and Lyon. Her repertoire included Délibe’s Lakhmé and Violetta (La traviata).
Upon her return to the United States Evanti failed to secure a role with established opera companies. She auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera in ...