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Denyce Graves

About this Artist

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, DENYCE GRAVES (Carmen) continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals as well as delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought her to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera (Covent Garden), San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

In 2007/08, Graves sings the role of Baba the Turk in a Robert Lepage production of The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera, makes her Hong Kong debut as Charlotte in Werther at Hong Kong Opera, and appears in the title role of Carmen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. She also travels internationally, making extensive tours giving concerts, recitals, and masterclasses.

Denyce Graves made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1995/96 season in the title role of Carmen. She appears continually in a broad range of repertoire with leading theaters in North America and Europe. In May 2005 she created the title role in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world-premiere performances at Michigan Opera Theater, with further performances at Cincinnati Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She gave her first performances of Judith in a William Friedkin production of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle in her return to Los Angeles Opera. Graves’ debut with the Théâtre du Châtelet was as Baba the Turk in a Peter Sellars/Esa-Pekka Salonen production of The Rake’s Progress. Her debut at Teatro alla Scala was as the High Priestess in La vestale led by Riccardo Muti, and she soon returned as Giulietta in a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann.

Denyce Graves has worked with leading symphony orchestras and conductors throughout the world in a wide range of repertoire. She has performed with Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, and Mstislav Rostropovich. She traveled to Rio de Janeiro for Verdi’s Requiem as well as Concert for Planet Earth, a gala performance celebrating the United Nation’s Summit on the Environment. This concert was broadcast live around the world, and has been released on Sony video and audio recordings.

One of the music world’s most sought-after recitalists, Graves combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional gifts for communication with her dynamic stage presence, enriching audiences around the world. In 2001 Graves gave a series of appearances in response to the tragic events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. She has since participated in numerous other benefit concerts, and RCA Records released a recording of patriotic songs, the proceeds of which benefit various groups who have been affected by the events of September 11. Graves continued her patriotic activities when she sang for President and Mrs. Bush, among other dignitaries, at “An American Celebration at Ford’s Theatre” to benefit U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This concert was taped for television and aired on the ABC network on July 4, 2005.

Graves appears regularly on radio and television as a musical performer, celebrity guest, and the subject of documentaries and other special programming. Her weekly show on XM Radio is titled “Voce di donna.” In 1997 PBS Productions released a video and audio recording titled Denyce Graves: A Cathedral Christmas, featuring her in a program of Christmas music from Washington’s National Cathedral. She has been a frequent guest on television shows including Sesame Street, The Charlie Rose Show, and Larry King Live. In 1996 she was the subject of an Emmy-award winning profile on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

In 1999 Denyce Graves began a relationship with BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal. That same year Voce di Donna, a recording of opera arias, was released. The Lost Days, a recording with jazz musicians of songs in Spanish and Portuguese, was released in January 2003. In June 2003 Church was released. Her full opera recordings include Gran Vestale in La vestale, recorded live at La Scala with Riccardo Muti for Sony Classical; Queen Gertrude in Thomas’ Hamlet for EMI Classics; Maddalena in Rigoletto with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under James Levine; and Emilia in Otello with Plácido Domingo and the Opéra de Paris, Bastille Orchestra under Myung-Whun Chung, both for Deutsche Grammophon.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Denyce Graves has been the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In 1991, she received the Grand Prix Lyrique, awarded once every three years by the Association des amis de l’opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Marian Anderson Award, presented to her by Miss Anderson.

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