Grace Bumbry

Opera Singer

Grace Bumbry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, United States on January 4th, 1937 and is the Opera Singer. At the age of 87, Grace Bumbry biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, and networth are available.

Date of Birth
January 4, 1937
United States
Place of Birth
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
87 years old
Zodiac Sign
Musician, Opera Singer, Singer
Grace Bumbry Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

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Grace Bumbry Life

Grace Melzia Bumbry (born January 4, 1937), an American opera singer, is regarded as one of the top mezzo-sopranos of her time, as well as a long-serving soprano.

She was one of a pioneering generation of African-American opera and classical singers who followed Marian Anderson (including Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Vertt, and Reri Grist) in the field of classical music, and opened the way for future African-American opera and concert singers.

Bumbry's voice was rich and sizable, possessing a wide variety of tones, and was capable of delivering a strong plangent tone. She also had a strong sense of flexibility and bel canto technique in her prime, as well as her Ernani from the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1984.

She was best known for her fiery temperament and dramatic presence on stage.

She has also been known as a recitalist and interpreter of lieder, as well as a tutor.

She stayed in Europe rather than in the United States from the late 1980s to today.

She now lives in Salzburg, Austria, and is a long-time resident of Switzerland.


Grace Bumbry Career

Early life and career

Grace Bumbry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and she was the third child of Benjamin and Melzia Bumbry. They were a family of modest means, deeply religious and highly musical. In a BBC radio interview, she recalled that her father was a railroad porter and her mother a school teacher. She graduated from the prestigious Charles Sumner High School, Mississippi's first black high school. Kenneth Billups, her voice coach at Sumner (along with Armand Tokatyan of Santa Barbara), was praised later for her "vocal prowess." She entered and won a teen talent competition sponsored by St. Louis radio station KMOX at the age of 17. The first place prizes included a $1000 war bond, a trip to New York, and a scholarship to the St. Louis Institute of Music; but, the institution would not recognize her because she was black. The contestants were embarrassed to be selected to appear on Arthur Godfrey's nationally broadcast Talent Scouting program, featuring Verdi's "O don fatale" from Don Carlos. The success of that performance gave rise to the opportunity to study at Boston University College of Fine Arts. She later enrolled at Northwestern University, where she met German dramatic soprano and celebrated Wagnerian singer Lotte Lehmann, who later attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and who became her mentor in her early career. In addition, she worked with respected teachers Marinka Gurewich and Armand Tokatyan. She was a joint winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions with soprano Martina Arroyo in 1958; later that year, she made her debut in Paris. Bumbry made her opera debut at the Paris Opéra in 1960, singing Amneris at the Paris Opéra; the following year, she joined the Basel Opera.

She rose to international prominence when she was cast as Venus in Tannhäuser in 1961, the first black singer to appear there, earning her the nickname "Black Venus." Victoria de los Angeles played Elisabeth and Wolfgang Windgassen as Tannhäuser, as well as Elisabeth and Wolfgang Windgassen. Conservative operagoers were outraged at the idea, but Bumbry's performance was so touching that they erupted the audience and applauded for 30 minutes, necessitating 42 curtain calls. Bumbry became a national cause célèbre as a result of the country's debating fury. She was then invited by Jacqueline Kennedy to perform at the White House. (She returned to the White House in 1981, performing at the Ronald Reagan inauguration.) With an operatic career on a high note, she achieved the rare feat of never falling back on small or comprimario roles.

Bumbry made her Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut in 1963, her La Scala debut in 1964, and her Metropolitan Opera debut as Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo. Bumbry debuted in 1964 as a soprano for the first time as a soprano, appearing in Verdi's Lady Macbeth in her debut at the Vienna State Opera. Carmen de Boe in 1966 she appeared in two different celebrated performances, one with conductor Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg and the other for Bumbry's debut with the San Francisco Opera. In 1967, she sang Carmen again in her debut with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company, and later in 1967 as Laura Adorno in La Gioconda with Leyla Gencer as La Cieca and Chester Ludgin as Barnaba.

Erwin Jaeckel, a Polish-born tenor, was married in 1963. They divorced in 1972.

Later career

Bumbry, who had performed several soprano arias, began to play more soprano roles in the 1970s. Salome was her first official soprano role at Covent Garden in 1970. She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1971 as Tosca. Jenefa (in Italian) at La Scala in 1974, as well as Sélika in Meyerbeer's L'Africaine in 1978 (opposite Plácido Domingo as Vasco da Gama). She also played Norma, Medea, Abigaille, and Gioconda. She first appeared in Norma in 1977 in Martina Franca, Italy; the following year, she appeared both Norma and Adalgisa in Covent Garden, first as the younger priestess opposite Montserrat Caballé as Norma; later, as Adalgisa.

She appeared with German pianist Sebastian Peschko frequently as an interpreter of lieder.

Chimène (in Le Cid), Elisabeth (in Tannhäuser), Elvira (in Ernani), Leonora (both Il trovatore and La forza del destino) were among her notable soprano roles in her career. Dalila, Cassandre, and Didon (in Les Troyens), Massenet's Hérodiade, Ulrica, Azucena, Gluck's Orfeo, and Telemaco were among her repertory's key mezzo-soprano roles in her repertory.

She founded and toured with the Grace Bumbry Black Musical Heritage Ensemble, a group dedicated to preservation and performing traditional Negro spirituals in the 1990s. In Richard Strauss' Elektra in Lyon in 1997, she appeared as Klytämnestra. She has since devoted herself to teaching and judging international competitions, as well as the concert stage, including in Paris (Thé'tre du Châtelet), London (Wigmore Hall), and New York (Alice Tully Hall).

She appeared in Scott Joplin's Treemonisha in Paris in 2010, and in 2013, she appeared in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades as the Countess.

"To strive for excellence, that's the answer," she says of young singers. If you are striving for success, it means you are determined. Even if you have to turn down some really good offers, you will find a way to get to your target. You have to live with it because you must live with yourself."