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Denyce Graves: Breaking the Rules

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Denyce Graves

Opera star Denyce Graves performs in DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING


Photo by Paul Sirochman.

Denyce Graves

Photo by Paul Sirochman.

Denyce Graves

Photo by Paul Sirochman.

Denyce Graves

Patti LaBelle (left), Denyce Graves and members of

Take 6 perform

"American Anthem."

Photo by Paul Sirochman.

Denyce Graves


Photo by Paul Sirochman.

Denyce Graves

Patti LaBelle (left) sings with Denyce Graves.

Photo by

Benjamin Rogers, Jr.


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WHYY Press Room

Download this press release (MS Word document)


…Celebrity guests Patti LaBelle and Take 6…

Acclaimed opera star Denyce Graves, along with celebrity guests Soul diva Patti LaBelle and popular R&B vocal group and recent Grammy winners Take 6, are featured in the 90-minute national television special DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES. The program, produced by WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, will be broadcast nationally on most PBS stations throughout March 2004.*

DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES, recorded in June 2003 in front of a live audience at the Mann Center of the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, celebrates the talent, style and versatility of the mezzo-soprano. Graves leaves behind opera scores and wows the crowd with an electrifying collection of classical, gospel, R&B, and jazz favorites such as “Get Happy,” “Old Man River,” “Laid Down My Burdens,” “Joint is Jumpin’” and more.

She is backed by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on a elaborate stage that simulates an urban street scene complete with street lights and espresso bar.

Highlights include Graves performing a powerful duet with Patti LaBelle. Their song, “Love Remembered,” makes its premiere during the program and was written specially for their two unique voices. Graves also sings with one of opera’s newest rising young stars, Jessica Swink. The two perform one of opera’s greatest and most popular tunes, the “Barcarolle” from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann.

Another special moment in the program is a rousing rendition of “Smile” by male

a capella group, Take 6. The soulful group also engages the audience in a participatory version of “Wade in the Water.”

For the grand finale, Graves performs “American Anthem,” a song she first sang for the President of the United States at the National Memorial Service in Washington’s National Cathedral after the 9/11.

The concert is conducted by Maestro Steven Mercurio who has created arrangements for a wide array of artists, including Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo and Bryn Terfel. Graves is recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal talents. Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. She has become particularly well known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. She also appears in a broad range of musical programs with leading theaters in North America and Europe, and is a much sought-after recitalist. Her recordings range from a performance of Rigoletto with conductor James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to the recent release, “The Lost Days: Music in the Latin Style.”

Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle has been a chart staple through a half-dozen hits with the futuristic trio LaBelle, and later a stunning solo career with over thirty charted singles including 1983’s chart topper “If You Only Knew” and the 1985 smash “New Attitude.”

Take 6 have received numerous Grammy Awards for their complex jazz harmonies, original songs and vocal pyrotechnics, representing some of the best a cappella ever recorded. The six-man group has built a style and catalog of songs that draw from gospel, jazz, doo-wop, R&B, pop, ‘60s soul and hip-hop.

DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES will be available on DVD and VHS with additional material including commentary from Graves and footage her at home.

Education material based on DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES is available to schools online at www.whyy.org. Teachers will be able to download lesson plans and teacher’s guides to use in conjunction with the program.

The program is produced by WHYY in partnership with Carmen Productions. Producers are Paul Gluck, Craig Hamilton and David Perry. The program is made possible by PNC Bank, The ARAMARK Charitable Fund, Peter Buttenwieser and Terry Ann Marek, the City of Philadelphia and The Connelly Foundation.

*Please check local listings for broadcast date and time in your area.

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Download the song list for DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES (MS Word Document)

Download more information about Denyce Graves and her celebrity guests (MS Word document)

Download information about Alan Skog, Director of DENYCE GRAVES: BREAKING THE RULES (MS Word document)



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