Featured Artists in 'Bluebeard's Castle' and 'Gianni Schicchi' Bass Samuel Ramey stars in both halves of a dynamic double bill, taking the title roles in Bartok's psycho-drama Bluebeard's Castle and Puccini's comedy Gianni Schicchi.
NPR logo Featured Artists in 'Bluebeard's Castle' and 'Gianni Schicchi'

Featured Artists in 'Bluebeard's Castle' and 'Gianni Schicchi'

Samuel Ramey displays remarkable musical and dramatic range while starring in both Bluebeard's Castle and Gianni Schicchi. Christian Steiner hide caption

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Christian Steiner

Denyce Graves, as Judith, makes a series of horrifying discoveries about her new husband, in Bartok's one-act thriller Bluebeard's Castle. Devon Cass hide caption

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Devon Cass

Complete Cast of Gianni Schicchi

Samuel Ramey (Gianni Schicchi); Amanda Squitieri (Lauretta); Antonio Gandia (Rinuccio); Elizabeth Bishop (Zita); Valeriano Lanchas (Simone); Leslie Mutchler (La Ciesca); Stefano de Peppo (Betto di Signa); Trevor Scheunemann (Marco); Robert Baker (Gherardo); Christina Martos (Nella); Tony Teleky (Gherardino); Obed Ureña (Spinelloccio); James Shaffran (Notary); David B. Morris (Pinellino); Matthew Osifchin (Guccio)

Samuel Ramey

Bass (Bluebeard, Gianni Schicchi)

Samuel Ramey has been one of the world's most acclaimed operatic basses for nearly 30 years. The remarkable versatility he displays in the title roles of both Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi is also apparent in the many other leading roles in his repertory, in operas such as Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

Ramey's dynamic stage presence has also led him to particular acclaim in the roles of devils and villains, including Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust, John Claggart in Britten's Billy Budd, the title role in Boito's Mefistofele and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress.

Ramey has made more than 80 recordings, including complete operas, collections of arias, symphonic works and crossover albums. Those recordings have earned a number of major awards, including three Grammy Awards, Gran Prix du Disc Awards and "Best of the Year" citations from Stereo Review and Opera News.

A native of Colby, Kan., Ramey now makes his home in Chicago.

Denyce Graves

Mezzo-soprano (Judith)

Recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting opera singers, American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves continues to inspire popular and critical acclaim for her performances in a wide variety of roles.

Graves has become particularly well-known for her portrayals of the title roles in Bizet's Carmen and Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila. Those signature roles have brought Graves to opera companies around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper and the Arena di Verona.

She has also embraced less traditional roles, singing Judith in Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, the High Priestess in Spontini's La Vestale, and Dulcinée in Massenet's Don Quichotte.

In 2005, Graves created the title role in Margaret Garner at the opera's world premiere in Detroit. Margaret Garner was inspired by Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, and the role was composed especially for Graves by Richard Danielpour.

Graves gave a series of appearances in response to the tragic events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001. She 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' appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the live musical program Healing through Gospel Music. She was also the subject of an award-winning profile on CBS's 60 Minutes.