Shenandoah Conservatory welcomes internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as its featured guest for the 2023/24 American Icons series. She will be featured in an interview with Emanuel Singletary ’25 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) and Professor of Voice Byron Jones ’04, D.M.A, during ShenCommunity at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in Armstrong Concert Hall. She will also present a masterclass for voice students at 1:30 p.m. in Armstrong Concert Hall.
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 Graves.”
Graves was inspired to form The Denyce Graves Foundation in the beginning of 2021. The foundation’s flagship program, Hidden Voices, focuses on researching the accomplishments of America’s hidden musical figures and then celebrating their lives, honoring these musicians of color whose stories have yet to join the American narrative.
Both the masterclass and American Icons interview are free events that are open to all Shenandoah Conservatory students, faculty and staff.
Special thanks Professor of Voice Byron Jones ’04, D.M.A., Associate Professor of Bassoon Ryan Romine, D.M.A., and Executive Director of Performances & Engagement, Artistic Director of Performing Arts Live and Adjunct Associate Professor of Conservatory Academics Courtney Reilly ’18, M.S., for assisting with Graves’ visit to campus. This event is also supported by the Shenandoah Conservatory Dean’s Council.
About Denyce Graves
Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to garner unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances across four continents.
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. Ms. 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 her to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, The Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.
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 the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s “Margaret Garner” at Michigan Opera Theater, followed by further performances at Cincinnati Opera, Opera Carolina, and Opera Philadelphia; the role of Charlotte in “Werther” at Michigan Opera Theatre 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 has also sung the latter role at Washington National Opera and Dallas Opera. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Douglas J. Cuomo’s Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Terence Blanchard’s Champion at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, as well as role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado at Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome at Palm Beach Opera.
In the 2021/22 season, Graves returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Maria in James Robinson’s acclaimed production of “Porgy and Bess.” On the concert stage, she joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin for a special, season-opening performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”, and joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a concert honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She also has given solo recitals at Ithaca College, the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, and the Clarksville Community Concert Artist Series, joined by frequent collaborator Laura Ward. Finally,Graves made her directorial debut in a new production of “Carmen” at Minnesota Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival.
Source: IMG Artists
ShenCommunity is a course that engages conservatory students as a community of fellow artists and scholars. Participants explore music, theatre and dance as students, performers, audience members and arts advocates. The class includes the exploration of strategies for student success and well-being. Its purpose is to foster a sense of shared culture among the conservatory’s undergraduate students through learning more about the arts and the way arts study affects outlooks and lives.