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Opera star Grace Bumbry dies at 86



The American opera singer, Grace Bumbry has died at age 86 in a hospital in her chosen home town Vienna, her adopted son David Brewer told dpa on Monday.

The mezzo-soprano and soprano was the first black woman to sing at the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth in 1961, and became a trailblazer for other black women in opera.

Bumbry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on Jan. 4, 1937 into a musical family,after winning a singing contest run by a local radio station, she later trained as a singer, earning scholarships along the way.

In 1959, she gave her first concert in London and a year later she celebrated her opera debut in Paris.

Many more appearances followed, with her signature roles including Salome in Strauss’ eponymous work, as Lady Macbeth, and as Princess Eboli in “Don Carlos.”

Sheji Halima

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