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Grace Bumbry
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Grace Bumbry

The well-known American opera singer Grace Bumbry ((born 4 January 1937) began her career as mezzo-soprano but later expanded her repertoire to include soprano roles.

Bumbry was born in St Louis. She studied music at Boston University and later with Lotte Lehmann Northwestern University. In 1958, she won a Metropolitan Opera audition. Bumbry made her operatic debut in 1960 when she sang Amneris at the Paris Opéra; that same year she joined the Basel Opera. She gained international reknown when she sang Venus at Bayreuth in 1961, the first black singer to appear there. Bumbry made her Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut in 1963; her La Scala debut in 1964. Bumbry mader her Metropolitan Opera debut as Princess Eboli. In Don Carlo in 1965.

In 1970, Bumbry appeared for the first time as a soprano, singing Mascagni's Santuzza at the Vienna State Opera. Shortly thereafter, she sang Strauss's Salome at Covent Garden and Tosca at the Met. As a soprano. she also assayed more unusual roles, singing Janacek's Jenufa at La Scala in 1974, and Dukas's Ariane et Barbe-Bleue in Paris in 1975.