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Career

CONCERT PERFORMANCE
1959–present
In recitals and concerts around the world, Bumbry continues to tap her repertoire of German lieder, French art songs, and Italian arias For 45 years Bumbry has continued to pursue her first love as a concert performer
1963
Invited by First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy to perform as a guest artist The Kennedy White House / Washington, District of Columbia USA
19621963
Performing as herself in concert as part of a 25 show, nine-week tour American concert debut / Carnegie Hall, New York + 21 other cities
1959
Performing as herself in concert European concert debut / London, England UK
RECORDINGINGS
2013
Performer, producer Arias & Songs
2008
Performer Verdi - Don Carlo
2006
Performs the role of Carmen Bizet's Carmen - Les tringles des sistres tintaient
2005
Performer The Art of Grace Bumbry
2005
Performer Musik aus Opern von Christoph Willibald Gluck
2005
Performs the role of Carmen Bizet - Carmen
2005
Performer, producer Grace Bumbry: Early Recordings -Oratorio, Opera, Lieder
2004
Performer Voices of our Time
2002
Performer Rapture
2000
Performer, producer Grace Bumbry Lieder & Arias 1963-1978
1999
Performer Metropolitan Opera - Centennial Gala
1999
Performer Aida - Act IV, Scene 1, Radamès!
1998
Performer Tannhauser
1993
Performer, producer Grace Bumbry - Famous Opera Arias
1991
Soloist Grace Bumbry In Concert
PERFORMANCES ON FILM
1977
Performed in the role of Amneris Verdi’s Aïda, Thomas Schippers conducting
1967
Performed in the role of Carmen Bizet’s Carmen with the Vienna Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan conducting
MEZZO-SOPRANO OPERATIC REPERTOIRE
Herodiade in Massenet’s Herodiade
Didon in Berlioz’s Les Troyens
Cassandre in Berlioz’s Les Troyens
Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide
Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma
Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo et Eurydice
Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera
Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen
Dalila in Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila
La principessa Eboli in Verdi’s Don Carlos
OPERATIC PERFORMANCE
1997
Performed in the role of Clytemnestra in Strauss’ Elektra Farewell Performance / Opéra national de Lyon, France
19611997
Principal mezzo-soprano and soprano roles in German, French and Italian opera International career / the foremost opera houses of the world
1985
Performed in the soprano role of Bess at this debut of a fifty-year old work Debut of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at The Metropolitan Opera / New York, New York USA
1983
Performed from her operatic repertoire at the gala  The Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala / New York, New York USA
1965
Performed the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos Metropolitan Opera debut / New York, New York USA
1963
Performed the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos Royal Opera House debut / London, England UK
1963
Performed the role of Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser American operatic debut / Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago, Illinois USA
19601962
Mezzo-soprano Basel Opera / Basel, Switzerland
1961
Performed the role of Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser, the first black woman to perform there German debut / Bayreuth Festspiel
1960
Performed the role of Amneris in Verdi's Aïda Operatic debut at the Paris Opéra / Paris, France
SOPRANO OPERATIC REPERTOIRE
Ariane in Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe-bleue
Gioconda in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda
Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Leonora in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino
Turandot in Puccini’s Turandot
Tosca in Puccini’s Tosca
Jenufa in Janáček’s Jenufa
La Vestale in Spontini’s La Vestale
Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth
Sélika in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine
Salome in Strauss’ Salome
Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana
Medea in Pacini’s Medea
Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco
Norma in Bellini’s Norma

Accomplishments of note

1991
Appointed: UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Paris, France In this capacity, Bumbry joins an illustrious group designated UNESCO Celebrity Advocates
1990
Performer: at the opening of the new Opéra Bastille Paris, France Performed in the role of Cassandre in Berlioz's Les Troyens
1982
Organizer: Carnegie Hall Concert Honoring Marian Anderson Carnegie Hall / New York, New York USA with Shirley Verrett The tribute concert honoring Marian Anderson took a year to arrange 
1978
Performer: at the first Kennedy Center Honors as part of a tribute to Marian Anderson Washington, District of Columbia USA with The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts The two had met in 1954 and Anderson had guided her since, including encouraging impresario Sol Hurok to take her on as a client
1970
Soprano debut: after establishing her career as a mezzo-soprano, she added a soprano repertoire Vienna Staatsoper / Vienna, Austria Her operatic debut in a soprano role was as Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana
1965
New York Debut: The Metropolitan Opera Performed of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos  
1962
Headliner: American Tour including her Carnegie Hall concert debut New York, New York USA and 21 other American cities with Sol Hurok, the legendary impressario  Among the 25 concert performances was one for an audience of 3,000 in her hometown of St. Louis
1961
German debut: in the role of Venus in Wagner's Tannhauser Bayreuth Festival / Bayreuth, Germany with Wieland Wagner, festival director and the composer's grandson, whose first choice she was for the role Bumbry became the first black to ever sing at the festival, creating great controversy, but . Wagner and Bumbry were vindicated by 42 curtain calls on opening-night, which launched her international career
1961
Signer: of a five-year, $250,000 contract for recordings, television appearances, concerts and opera engagements with Sol Hurok

Professional honors and awards

2009
The Kennedy Center Honors The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Lifetime achievement for elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world through classical music
2003
Inducted as Kammersängerin at the National Chancellery in Vienna Republic of Austria
L’Officier des Arts et Lettres Republic of France
1990
The first Lawrence Tibbett Award The American Guild of Musical Artists, which established a scholarship in her name that year
1958
Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air The Metropolitan Opera Shared first prize with soprano Martina Arroyo this last year the competition was held
1957
Marian Anderson Scholarship Marian Anderson Scholarship Fund, which awarded scholarships from 1943 through 1972
Commandeur des Arts et Lettres Republic of France
1957
John Hay Whitney Award John Hay Whitney Foundation Opportunity fellowship for graduate study/training useful in developing talent
1954
First Prize in a singing competition, at the age of 17 Radio station KMOX in St. Louis, Missouri USA The prize included a $1,000 war bond, a free trip to New York, and a $1,000 scholarship to the St. Louis Institute of Music; segregated, they would not enroll a black student
1954
Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts The Arthur Godfrey Show, a pioneer in television variety programming based in New York City 1954 Winner for her on-air performance, which brought her a number of scholarship offers
Premio Giuseppe Verdi Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani / Parma, Italy

Community

Community service

1991–present
UNESCO Paris, France Performs at UNESCO events such as the "Music for Peace" concert that marked the dawn of the third millennium in 1999

Community honors and awards

Distinguished Alumna Award Academy of Music of the West
1992
Star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame St. Louis Walk of Fame Music
Nationality
American
Hobbies
Driving her orange Lamborghini in the 1960-70s

Education

University
Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois USA Music Studied with Armand Tokatyan and Lotte Lehmann, who thought her a dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano, respectively; each required different training
University
College of Fine Arts, Boston University Boston, Massachusetts USA Music 19511953 Attended as a scholarship student, a result of her winning the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts on-air competition
Practicum
University of Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, California USA Master classes in voice with Lotte Lehmann, following her retirement from a forty-year stage career Invited by Lehmann, who became a mentor, to spend a scholarship-funded summer studying at the musical academy she had established there, her stay stretched to three-and-a-half years
Native language
English
Other languages
German, Italian, French

Honorary Degrees

1980
University of Missouri - St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri USA Doctor of Humane Letters
Rockhurst College Kansas City, Missouri USA Doctor of Music

Family

Vital statistics

Birth information
January 4, 1937
Gender
Female
Place of birth
St. Louis, Missouri USA
Marital status
Divorced

Marriage

19631972
Erwin Andreas Jaeckel     

Parents

Father
Benjamin James Bumbry
Mother
Melzia Bumbry

Ancestry

African-American