Cher Public

Together again for the first time

bumbry-verrettIn honor of the Amazing Grace’s 80th birthday, a repeat performance from Unnatural Acts of Opera of her duo concert with Shirley Verrett at Carnegie Hall from January 31, 1982.

  • Ramon Figueroa

    Lord, Shirley Verret in that photo is so glamorous. The neck, the eyes, the cheekbones, the smile…


    I saw these two greats when they did this joint concert at the Hollywood Bowl. I took a friend who was new to opera and I was prepping him for the full experience. I told him that Mme. Verrett was the greater artiste of the two and would no doubt be dressed very grandly as Ms. Bumbry was more flashier and would probably be perhaps a bit more haute. I also warned him they would change at half time.

    Right on schedule the two ladies turned the corner onto the stage. Shirley in a grand black gown with high collar and cape trimmed with flounces/ruffles on every edge. La Bumbry in a skintight turquoise sequined gown from tip to toe.

    They did not disappoint. After the break Grace went violet and Shirl went all white.

    They opened with Gioconda and sang everything I ever wanted to hear them sing including the duets from Aida, Bolena, and Norma. The arias were all greatest hits too. Verrett with Macbeth Act I and Otello ‘Salce’ and Bumbry with a gloriious ‘Io son lumille ancella’ (magic pianissimo) and the Ernani in the second half.

    I died. Constantly.