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.
Ms. Graves made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1995-96 season in Carmen. She has become well known to audiences as the title role in Carmen and Samson et Dalila, performing at the Metropolitan Opera,Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale.
Ms. Graves has been the recipient of the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In 1991, she received the Grand Prix Lyrique, awarded by the Association des amis de l’opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Marian Anderson Award. Ms. Graves has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, College of Saint Mary and Centre College.