Women's Activism NYC

Grace Bumbry

1937 - 2023

By: Caren Hinckley | Date Added:

Grace Bumbry was one of several pioneering Black opera stars to follow the path of Marian Anderson. She was the first black singer to perform at Germany's Bayreuth Festival. As a teenager in 1954, Grace won a scholarship to St. Louis Institute of Music, but because of segregation, was not allowed to take classes with white students. She studied at both Boston University and Northwestern University. In 1960, Grace's operatic debut was in the Paris Opera in Aida. Her triumph in Paris led her to the famous Bayreuth Festival. Grace didn't let controversy deter her and her performance garnered great praise. After extraordinary success as a mezzo-soprano Grace moved to soprano roles . Her powerful stage presence, gorgeous sound and perseverance blazed the trail for the next generation of black opera performers.

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