As a child, she almost burned down a house when she played with her aunt's cigarettes. Today, the world celebrates her in the role of Carmen, a cigarette factory worker. Denyce Graves is one of the most-promising mezzos in the United States, and her story of success is the story of the American Dream. Graves, who is black, grew up in a poor and dangerous neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Talent, hard work, and her mother's strict supervision paved her way through a high school for the artistically gifted and several successful competitions to opera houses like the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, and Covent Garden in London. In the role of Carmen, she often performs next to Placido Domingo, and the character of a powerful underdog seems to be cut out for her. However, the 32-year-old singer is not going to settle as the gypsy girl, as Georg Hirsch found out on a visit to her luxurious home.
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