Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves joins the Washington Post video series “Micro Management Stories.” (AJ Chavar/The Washington Post)

We have an ongoing video series, “Micro Management Stories,” that runs as part of the On Leadership section here at the Washington Post. Every two weeks we feature a short interview with leaders in fields ranging from government to business to the arts, and we ask them to share an experience that shaped their career and the way they internalize what leadership and character mean.

Our latest installment in the series is an interview with opera singer Denyce Graves.

Graves, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1995 in the leading role of “Carmen,” has performed as a mezzo-soprano at opera houses across the globe. She was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up with her mother and two siblings in the District’s Southwest quadrant.

In this video, Graves recounts a story from earlier in her career when a director was unhappy to have her cast in his performance of “Carmen.” He hadn’t envisioned a black woman playing the title role in his rendition. The lesson Graves learned was one of perseverance and the power of relentless hard work. Watch her video in the player above, or click here:

VIDEO: Denyce Graves on perseverance

Lillian Cunningham: @lily_cunningham