Identified as "an operatic superstar of the 21st century" by USA Today, Denyce Graves has performed in the world's great opera houses and concert halls. She is particularly well known for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila, with performances at 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 Zurich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence. She continues to appear in a broad range of repertoire in theaters in North America and Europe.
Ms. Graves has worked with leading symphony orchestras and conductors throughout the world. She is also one of the music world's most sought-after recitalists. Her programs include classical repertoire of German Lieder, French mélodie, and English art song, as well as the popular music of Broadway, musicals, crossover, jazz, and American spirituals.
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." She appears regularly on radio and television as a musical performer, celebrity guest, and as the subject of documentaries and other special programming. She has been invited on several occasions to perform in recital at the White House, and she gives benefit performances for various causes special to her each season. 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.
A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Graves attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and New England Conservatory. In 1998, Ms. Graves received an honorary doctorate from Oberlin College Conservatory. Her awards include 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.