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My Generation

Denyce Graves: Diva and Teacher

Opera star guides young performers at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where she first found her voice

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From the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the Vienna Staatsoper, Denyce Graves reigns in the world's greatest opera houses. Still, the powerful diva hasn't forgotten where her journey began: the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Denyce Graves performing diva teacher

Denyce Graves performs at a benefit in Washington, D.C., in 2011. — Tina Fultz/ZUMA Press/Corbis

At Duke Ellington, Graves first encountered classical music. She now regularly visits the next generation of performers at her high school alma mater so as "to encourage them on their journey and to excite them about music making," says Graves.

When not making her own music and teaching others to do the same, Graves can be found at home — not as a diva, but as a mom. My Generation spent a few days with the mezzo-soprano to talk about her career, her family and her passion for inspiring others.

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