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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 / Boult, Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward
Release Date: 10/22/2007   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 433003   Number of Discs: 3
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Voices Of Our Time - Grace Bumbry - Homage To Lotte Lehmann
Release Date: 07/20/2004   Label: Tdk  
Catalog: VTGB   Number of Discs: 1
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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 51-75 of 81 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Bumbry, Vickers, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000435209 Release Date: 06/14/2005  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Milen Paunov,  Anton Diakov,  Julia Hamari,  Grace Bumbry  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 52.
    Grace Bumbry Sings Arias / (B&w)
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4334 Release Date: 06/14/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry
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  • 53.
    The Very Best Of Jon Vickers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86338 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  José Van Dam,  Mario Machi,  Peter Glossop,  Aldo Bottion  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Georges Prętre,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
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  • 54.
    Bellini: Norma / Halasz, Bumbry, Cuberli, Giacomini, Et Al
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 469/1-2 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Eugenia Cardano,  Lella Cuberli,  Giuseppe Giacomini  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bari Symphony Orchestra,  Amici della Polifonia Chorus
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  • 55.
    Original Masters - Grace Bumbry - Early Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4775250 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Sebastian Peschko,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Erik Werba  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Maurice Abravanel,  Hans Löwlein,  János Kulka  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 56.
    Voices Of Our Time - Grace Bumbry - Homage To Lotte Lehmann
    Label: Tdk   Catalog: VTGB Release Date: 07/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Helmut Deutsch
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  • 57.
    Giulini- Verdi: Requiem, Etc / Giulini, Bumbry, Kónya, Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4144 Release Date: 06/29/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Ilva Ligabue,  Sándor Kónya,  Raphäel Arié
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 58.
    Gemini - Bizet: Carmen / De Burgos, Bumbrey. Vickers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85505 Release Date: 06/01/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Mirella Freni,  Éliane Lublin,  Viorica Cortez  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Les Petits Chanteurs ŕ la Croix de Bois
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  • 59.
    My Figure Skating Album - All The Favourite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000186102 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Tamás Vásáry,  Gil Shaham,  Luben Yordanoff,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Ahronovitch,  Daniel Barenboim,  William Steinberg,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 60.
    Rapture - Opera's Most Heavenly Moments
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471717 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Teresa Berganza,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Richard Bonynge,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 61.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Sir Georg Solti, Bergonzi, Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421114 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tugomir Franc,  Joan Carlyle,  Grace Bumbry,  Jeanette Sinclair  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 62.
    The Great Renata Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470280 Release Date: 01/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Lydia Marimpietri,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Alberto Erede,  Fausto Cleva  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $51.99
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  • 63.
    Cavalleria Rusticana And Pagliacci / Martini, Bumbry, Et Al
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1197 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni
    Performer:  Joan Carlyle,  Cornell MacNeil,  Jose Nait,  Virgilio Tavini  ... 
    Conductor:  Juan Emilio Martini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Chorus
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  • 64.
    Eloquence - Handel: Messiah - Arias & Choruses /Boult, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467401 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Grace Bumbry,  Ralph Downes,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 65.
    Opera - Bizet: Carmen (Highlights) / Frühbeck De Burgos
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 74127 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Grace Bumbry,  Kostas Paskalis,  Bernard Gontcharenko  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris
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  • 66.
    Opera - Verdi: Aida (Highlights) / Mehta, Nilsson, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 74133 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Birgit Nilsson,  Grace Bumbry,  Mario Sereni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 67.
    Basic Opera Highlights - Verdi: Aida/Leinsdorf, Price, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63706 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ruggero Raimondi,  Sherrill Milnes,  Hans Sotin,  Grace Bumbry  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 68.
    Aida - Told By Leontyne Price With Selections From The Opera
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63543 Release Date: 02/08/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Grace Bumbry,  Leontyne Price,  Ruggero Raimondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Opera Treasury - Verdi: Aida / Price, Bumbry, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 39498 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Grace Bumbry,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
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  • 70.
    Wagner: Tannhauser / Sawallisch, Windgassen, De Los Angeles
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1172 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gerhard Stolze,  Georg Paskuda,  Franz Crass,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 71.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Bumbry, Vickers, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1151 Release Date: 02/17/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Grace Bumbry
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    On sale! $27.98
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  • 72.
    James Levine's 25th Anniversary - Metropolitan Opera Gala
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 449177 Release Date: 10/15/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Strauss,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Karita Mattila,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite;  Falla / Maazel, Rso Berlin
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 447414 Release Date: 01/23/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Basic 100 Vol 47 - Verdi: Aida Highlights / Leinsdorf, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 62676 Release Date: 08/16/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Leontyne Price,  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Bel Canto - Famous Opera Arias
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 321931 Release Date: 03/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Cherubini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Kurt Moll,  Edita Gruberova,  Lucia Aliberti  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Graf,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Heinz Wallberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Chorus Women,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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