Grace Bumbry

Biography

Born: January 4, 1937; St. Louis, MO  
As a youth Grace Melzia Ann Bumbry sang in church choirs. In 1955 she entered Northwestern University, where she studied voice with Lotte Lehman, and transferred with her to the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. In 1958 she was joint winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, sharing first place with Martina Arroyo. She won some other prizes, and made her professional debut in a recital in London in 1959. Her first operatic Read more appearance was at the Paris Opéra, as Amneris in Verdi's Aida. It was one of the most spectacular operatic debuts in history; Bumbry became an instant star and was invited to join the roster of the Basle Opera. She made operatic history in 1961 when she was engaged by Wieland Wagner to sing at the Bayreuth Festival and became the first black singer to perform in that shrine of Wagnerian opera. Furthermore, musical historian Nicolas Slomimsky has pointed out that she was the first African American to make a professional operatic as a goddess, for her debut at Bayreuth was as Venus in Tannhäuser, July 23, 1961. Bumbry embarked on a concert tour of the United States and was invited by Jacqueline Kennedy to sing at the White House, on February 20, 1962. She also followed up her smash success at Bayreuth with appearances as Venus at the Chicago Lyric Opera and at Lyons, France.

Bumbry's 1963 London debut came in the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos, and she gave her first Metropolitan Opera performance in the same role in 1965. Among the other roles she undertook were those of Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth and Carmen in Bizet's opera. During the 1960s Bumbry worked on extending her range. In 1970 at the Vienna Staatsoper, she sang the part of Santuzza, making her debut as a soprano. She sang Richard Strauss's Salome at Covent Garden the same year, and her first appearance in Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera came in 1971. She maintained her mezzo voice while triumphing in soprano parts, such as Jenufa in Janacek's opera and as Ariane in Dukas' Bluebeard. Between operatic performances she established a fine recital career, stressing the core repertory of German lieder. Her attractions as a performer include a commanding stage presence with an effective and understated acting technique. She has a very warm voice with rich tone quality throughout the mezzo range, although it loses some of its distinctiveness in the very upper part of her soprano register. She is among the few sopranos who have sung both the roles of Aida and Amneris in Aida and both Venus and Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser. Read less
Handel: Messiah / Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward, Boult
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Newton Classics  
Catalog: 8802032   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 1-25 of 84 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    J. Strauss Jr.: Operettas / Boskovsky, Welser-Most
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 8466429 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Elizabeth Magnuson,  Martina Jankova,  Michael Volle,  Alexander Pereira  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst,  Franz Allers,  Willi Boskovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera Chorus,  Zurich Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection [15-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372279 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Bruce Brewer,  Edith Mathis,  Hans Sotin  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  James Levine,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Gluck: Orfeo Ed Euridice / Bumbry, Rothenberger, Neumann
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94703 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Ruth Margaret Pütz,  Walter Olbertz
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem / Konya, Bumbry, Ligabue, Arie, Giulini
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3079968 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sándor Kónya,  Grace Bumbry,  Raffaele Arié,  Ilva Ligabue
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 5.
    Grandioso! - Great Verdi Recordings From Caruso To Pavarotti [7 CD-Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001928802 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sándor Kónya,  Maria Németh,  Renata Tebaldi,  Ebe Stignani  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  János Kulka,  Alberto Erede,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 6.
    Verdi at The Met
    Label: Sony   Catalog:  721202 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rosa Ponselle,  Friedrich Jagel,  Lawrence Tibbett,  Henriette Wakefield  ... 
    Conductor:  Ettore Panizza,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Thomas Schippers,  Fritz Stiedry  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Magic Verdi
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 282712 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Martina Arroyo,  Piero Cappuccilli  ... 
    Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede,  Anton Guadagno  ... 
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  • 8.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $199.49
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  • 9.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
    CD: $11.99
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  • 10.
    Verdi: The Great Operas [35-CDs]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 167452 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anne Edwards,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Tullio Serafin,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 11.
    Solti Conducts The Verdi Operas [16-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001746202 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Robert Merrill,  Rita Gorr,  Leontyne Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
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  • 12.
    Verdi, Puccini: Duets / Price, Domingo
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195834 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Placido Domingo,  Grace Bumbry,  Elisabeth Bainbridge
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Verdi: Macbeth / Fischer-Dieskau, Bumbry, Sawallisch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 843112 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Bozena Ruk-Focic,  Alois Pernerstorfer,  Ermanno Lorenzi,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Salzburg Festival Chorus
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  • 14.
    Verdi, Puccini: Duets / Leontyne Price, Placido Domingo
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61634 Release Date: 10/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Placido Domingo,  Grace Bumbry,  Elisabeth Bainbridge
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Popular Opera Arias
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300250 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Ruth-Margaret Pütz,  Franz Crass,  Annelies Burmeister  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz,  Giuseppe Patané,  Horst Stein  ... 
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  • 16.
    Handel: Messiah, Acis And Galatea / Sutherland, Bumbry, Pears, Boult
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4804924 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Kenneth McKellar,  David Ward  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Philomusica of London  ... 
    On sale! $31.98
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  • 17.
    Berlin Opera Night / Nagano, Berlin Deutsche Opera
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053589 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Galouzine,  Anne Schwanewilms,  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Angelika Kirchschlager  ... 
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Verdi: Aida / Mehta, Nilsson, Bumbry, Corelli, Sereni
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63229 Release Date: 01/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mirella Fiorentini,  Piero de Palma,  Ferruccio Mazzoli,  Bonaldo Giaiotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Handel: Messiah / Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward, Boult
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802032 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Grace Bumbry,  Kenneth McKellar
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Fulton, Caballe, Bumbry, Bruson, Estes, Aragall
    Label: Hardy Classics   Catalog: 4045 Release Date: 10/12/2010  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Guy Gaballe,  Michel Dumont,  Renato Bruson,  Grace Bumbry  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Fulton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  French Radio Chorus
    On sale! $49.95
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  • 21.
    Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress / Nagano, L’opera De Lyon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4681380 Release Date: 06/15/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Dawn Upshaw,  Steven Cole,  Anne Collins,  Jerry Hadley  ... 
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Lyon Opera Chorus
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  • 22.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Richard Van Allan,  Keith Erwen,  Delia Wallis,  Ferruccio Mazzoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Tullio Serafin,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 23.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Rolando Villazón,  Renato Bruson,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Marcello Viotti,  Giuseppe Patané,  Julius Rudel  ... 
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  • 24.
    Classical Legends - In Their Own Words
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 08972 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Various
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Da Capo - Opera Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149512 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Armin Ude,  Grace Bumbry,  Siegfried Lorenz,  Sona Cervana  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernhard Klee,  Otmar Suitner,  Hans Vonk,  Václav Neumann  ... 
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