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Grace Bumbry (photo by Stella Boda)

Grace Bumbry

(Singer, born January 4, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri)Her obsession with singing began when she was still a child. That obsession--together with a ravishing natural voice, an extraordinary talent, and unwavering determination--led to one of the most illustrious operatic careers of the 20th century. What's more, when most eras can boast four or perhaps five superstar sopranos and even fewer superstar mezzo-sopranos, for more than three decades and for millions of opera lovers in the United States and around the world, Grace Bumbry was both. Her unique sound and her gripping stage presence, once experienced, simply cannot be forgottenMoving from one range to the other with breathtaking ease gave her a singular spectrum of roles--from Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana), Ortrud (Lohengrin), Dalila (Samson et Dalila), Adalgisa (Norma), Kundry (Parsifal), Eboli (Don Carlo), Orfeo and Carmen to Salome, Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Norma, Gioconda, Aïda, Tosca, Medea, Elvira (Ernani), Leonora (Il trovatore and La forza del destino), Bess (Porgy and Bess), and Turandot.

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