Plácido Domingo and Denyce Graves to be part of Papal Mass at Nationals Park

March 28, 2008

American opera star Denyce Graves and world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo will sing at the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at Nationals Park on April 17.

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves will sing “We are One in the Spirit” as Pope Benedict XVI is poised to walk onto the field just before the start of the 10 a.m. Mass. The 250-voice Papal Mass Choir, the 175-voice Children’s Choir and the entire assembly gathered in the stadium will join in singing with her.

“It is a simple but evocative call to worship,” said Tom Stehle, director of music for the Mass, of the song, “and one particularly fitted for this special Mass whose themes focus on the Spirit of God in our lives.” The song, approved by an archdiocesan committee and the Vatican, is arranged by Valeria Foster – a well-known Washington area interpreter of Gospel music.

Following communion Plácido Domingo will sing César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus” (translated as Bread of Angels.) A native of Spain, Domingo has sung 124 different roles – more than any other tenor in history and made well over 100 recordings. He is the recipient of nine Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards. Domingo spends much of his time in Washington for his job as General Director of the Washington National Opera, a position he has held since 2003.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory and is best known to operatic audiences for playing the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. She will sing the lead role in Carmen for the Washington National Opera in November.

The music program for the Mass at Nationals Park includes four choirs totaling 570 members from across the Archdiocese of Washington, singing in ten languages.

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Susan Gibbs
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