For immediate release
February 8, 1998


NPR Releases New CD of Spirituals by Versatile Opera Diva Denyce Graves


Washington, DC -- Opera star Denyce Graves, hailed worldwide for her glorious performances as Bizets "Carmen", shows the range of her talent as she sings spirituals in her just-released NPR Classics CD Angels Watching Over Me. The mezzo-soprano grew up listening to her mother sing gospel songs, which inspired Ms. Graves to record traditional spirituals such as "Git On Board" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in powerful new arrangements on this CD.

"In the hands of (an) inspired (singer) with tremendous vocal power, these familiar songs take on a luminous glow that persists long after the CD has been put away," said Atlanta Journal-Constitution music critic Jerry Schwartz. He called Ms. Graves voice "(one of) the most naturally beautiful and expressive voices in the world." "

On Angels Watching Over Me, Ms. Graves is accompanied by pianists Warren Jones, Marvin Mills and the Clark Atlanta University Choir directed by Glynn Halsey. Recorded by NPR in Spivey Hall near Atlanta, it also features a live recording of "Witness" performed at the Kennedy Center.

This is Ms. Graves' second appearance on an NPR Classics recording. She sang "Death and the Maiden," D. 531 on the 1997 release Franz Schubert In Performance.

She has performed "Carmen" and portrayed Saint-Saens Delila of "Samson et Dalila" on opera stages in New York, Vienna, London, Paris, Munich and Geneva. In 1997, she was named as one of Glamour magazines "Women of The Year," and was named as one of Ebony magazines "50 Leaders of Tomorrow".

Angels Watching Over Me is available through 1-888-NPR-DISC, at NPR Town Square kiosks in Borders stores, and at other retail outlets nationwide. Proceeds from its sale will help support NPR programs.

NPR Town Square kiosks in Borders stores nationwide provide a convenient, central place to find products such as NPR Classics CDs, books and recordings reviewed on NPR programs, and local station information.

National Public Radio, a membership organization of 591 public radio stations nationwide, produces and distributes the award-winning programs All Things Considered®, Talk of the Nation®, Weekend Edition® and NPR's Performance Today®.