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MMM | Grace Bumbry is Carmen

Author: sounding images

Many have had great careers. Grace Bumbry's was more than that: it was significant - and "Carmen" was one of her greatest moments.

  • MMM | Grace Bumbry is Carmen | Copyright: © Unitel

    © Unitel

Her career almost seems like a fairy tale: Due to racial segregation, she could not begin her studies at the St. Louis Institute of Music in the USA, although she had already won a radio competition at the age of 17. She was not accepted because of the color of her skin. Against this background, one has to see her later triumphs. She celebrated her breakthrough in Bayreuth, where Wieland Wagner brought her for his "Tannhäuser" and where the press praised her as the "black Venus" and the audience clapped her in front of the curtain 40 times. Fortunately, there is an interview about her awareness of pioneering work for black artists, in which Bumbry modestly yet confidently reflects on her role in fluent French. Soprano Pretty Yende can speak about Bumbry's formative roles, as well as the problems black singers face in the classical music business, especially in performing roles on opera stages where audiences are used to seeing traditionally white performers.

When Grace Bumbry performed Carmen under Karajan in 1966/67, she was the shooting star of the international opera scene. On May 7, 2023, Grace Bumbry passed away in Vienna, her chosen home. Her fans will never forget her voice, as well as her charismatic stage presence and her acting talent.

English series title Magic Moments of Music
Duration 43 min / 52 min
Production year 2024
Author Dag Freyer
Producer Lily Küntzle, Claus Wischmann
Co-Producer Christopher Janssen
Production Company ZDF/Arte, sounding images

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