A message from Grace Bumbry’s adoptive son, friend, advisor, and publicist
On Friday, October 21, Grace Melzia Bumbry was to have been present at the OPERA America Salutes awards dinner for her induction into the Opera Hall of Fame. Only a truly serious event would have kept Grace from attending such a celebration.
That serious event occurred as she was traveling from Europe to accept OPERA America’s award. On Thursday, the 20th of October, as her flight was preparing to arrive at JFK, Grace was stricken by alarming physical symptoms. She received emergency care from the flight crew, while the airline personnel ordered an ambulance to be on the ground at the moment of landing. Grace was immediately transported to the nearest hospital, in Jamaica, Queens, where she was diagnosed with an acute ischemic stroke. Within two hours the exceptional neurosurgeon Dr. Mohsen Nouri performed recanalization surgery, which saved her life and set her on the way to recovery.
Dr. Nouri reported immediately following his surgery that the stroke was not extensive but that it had affected brain regions responsible for comprehension and language. While admitting that he could not predict for sure, still he guessed that her rehabilitation might require weeks or months.
We are relieved and encouraged that the early signs for Grace’s recovery are good. Although she has severe paralysis on her right side, within the first 48 hours she was able to speak a word or two, and her abilities to comprehend and express herself had begun to improve.
Grace has communicated her understanding of the many messages of concern and love that have begun to arrive in my email and phone. She has been clearly emotional in her deep gratitude for her rescue and for the prayers and messages sent by her family, friends, and fans.
In accepting her induction in OPERA America’s Opera Hall of Fame, Grace planned to thank Marc Scorca for the strength of his long professional support and his friendship. To be honored by OPERA America was deeply meaningful to Grace, who began her career, in her home country, under fraught circumstances and who created a musical blaze that ignited opera houses throughout the world. Grace embodies a dynamic blend of self-confidence and humility, assertiveness, and sensitivity. She believes in herself and the power of her artistry, and she understands the strength that she has received from teachers and mentors in her life. Through her performances and her teaching she has continually sought to encourage young artists in their development.
David Lee Brewer
Berlin, October 2022