The recipients of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors were announced this morning. Among them is Grace Bumbry, the mezzo-soprano-turned-soprano who in a long career brought such memorable dramatic intensity to roles ranging from Wagner's Venus (she was the first black singer at Bayreuth) to Verdi's Lady Macbeth to Puccini's Tosca (which she sang at the Met at James Levine's first performance in the house). Salut, Grace.
It's a good year for music; other honorees include Dave Brubeck and Bruce Springsteen, as well as Robert De Niro and Mel Brooks. Last year's honors, of course, didn't include any classical musicians at all.
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