Recognized worldwide as one of
today's most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather
unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four
continents. USA Today identifies her as "an operatic superstar of the
21st Century," and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclaims, "if the
human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce
Her career has taken her to the world's great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to 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 Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The 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.
Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Highlights have included a Robert Lepage production of The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera, the title role in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world premiere performances at Michigan Opera Theater with further performances at Cincinnati Opera, Opera Carolina, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the role of Charlotte in Werther for Michigan Opera Theater opposite Andrea Bocelli in his first staged operatic performances, and the role of Judith in a William Friedkin production of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle in her return to Los Angeles Opera; she also has sung Judith at the Washington National Opera and for the Dallas Opera. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera.
Denyce Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors 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. One of the music world's most sought-after recitalists, Ms. Graves combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional gifts for communication with her dynamic stage presence. Her programs include classical repertoire of German lieder, French mélodie, and English art song, as well as the popular music of Broadway musicals, crossover and jazz together with American spirituals. For her New York recital debut, the New York Times wrote, "[h]er voice is dusky and earthy. She is a strikingly attractive stage presence and a communicative artist who had the audience with her through four encores."
In 2001 Ms. 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. Ms. Graves was invited by President Bush to participate in the National Prayer Service in Washington's National Cathedral in which she sang "America, the Beautiful" and "The Lord’s Prayer." This event was televised worldwide and was followed by Ms. Graves's appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in a live musical program of "Healing through Gospel Music." Ms. Graves appears regularly on radio and television as a musical performer, celebrity guest, and as the subject of documentaries and other special programming. In 1997 PBS Productions released a video and audio recording titled Denyce Graves: A Cathedral Christmas, featuring Ms. Graves in a program of Christmas music from Washington's National Cathedral. This celebration of music including chorus and orchestra is shown each year on PBS during the Christmas season. Ms. Graves was seen on the Emmy-award winning BBC special "The Royal Opera House," highlighting her debut performances there and she has been a frequent guest on television shows including Sesame Street, The Charlie Rose Show, and Larry King Live. In 1996 Ms. Graves 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 solo recording of opera arias, was released on RCA Red Seal. The Lost Days, a recording with jazz musicians of Latin songs in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, was released in January 2003. In June 2003 Church was released ‒ this recording, developed by Denyce Graves, brings together African-American divas from various forms of music, all of whom were first exposed to music through their upbringing in church. Participants recorded music of their choice and include Dr. Maya Angelou, Dionne Warwick, En Vogue, Patti LaBelle, and others. Other recordings of Ms. Graves include NPR Classics' release of a recording of spirituals, Angels watching over me, featuring the mezzo-soprano in performance with her frequent partner, Warren Jones, and an album of French arias, Héroïnes de l'Opéra romantique Français, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo under Marc Soustrot. Her full opera recordings include Gran Vestale in La vestale, recorded live from La Scala with Riccardo Muti for Sony Classical; Queen Gertrude in Thomas's 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. Ms. Graves is 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. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.