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Grace Bumbry

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Category: Music - Classical
Reference No: 2379
Status: Available
Price: £12.00
  Grace Bumbry

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Distinguished African-American opera singer, considered one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, as well as a major soprano for many years.

Bumbry was a member of an extraordinary and pioneering generation of singers who followed Marian Anderson (including Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett and Reri Grist) in the world of classical music and paved the way for future African-American opera and classical singers.

She gained international renown when she was cast by Wieland Wagner (Richard Wagner's grandson) as Venus at Bayreuth in 1961, at the age 24, the first black singer to appear there. Conservative opera-goers were outraged at the idea, but Bumbry's performance was so moving that by the end of the opera she had won the audience over and they applauded for 30 minutes, necessitating 42 curtain calls.. The ensuing furore in the media made Bumbry an international cause célèbre. She was subsequently invited by Jacqueline Kennedy to sing at the White House. (She returned to the White House in 1981, singing at the Ronald Reagan inauguration.) Having begun her operatic career on such a high note, she achieved the rare feat of never falling back on small or comprimario roles.

In recent years Bumbry has also become known as a recitalist and interpreter of lieder, and as a teacher. From the late 1980s on, she seemed to concentrate her career in Europe, rather than in the US. A long time resident of Switzerland, she now makes her home in Salzburg, Austria..
 
This is a fine white card (6" x 4"), signed in black ink IN PERSON at the Royal Opera House on the 14th March 1988. In very good condition.