Susan Graham



Susan Graham is one of the world's foremost opera and recital stars, a compelling and versatile singing actress. Celebrated as an expert in French music, Ms. Graham has been honored by the French government as a "Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres". This season, she performs a variety of repertoire in many different countries, beginning with Berlioz in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. She performs Mozart and Berlioz at the Metropolitan Opera, Bernstein and Rorem at Carnegie Hall, and Massenet in Munich and Paris. Ms. Graham hosts the fourth annual Opera News Awards in New York, performs at the famed Prague Spring Festival, and closes her season with recitals in Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Vienna, and Brussels. She sings her first Metropolitan Opera performances as Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni, and is Marguérite in the Met's debut staging of Berlioz's Damnation de Faust. At Carnegie Hall, she sings "Arias and Barcarolles" in the citywide Leonard Bernstein Festival and later participates in the gala honoring Marilyn Horne's 75th birthday. Berg's Seven Early Songs are on her St. Louis program; Mozart arias are scheduled for Salzburg, and she sings newly-orchestrated songs by Ned Rorem with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Graham, a leading participant in the international Christoph Willibald Gluck opera revival, has sung the title role of Iphigénie en Tauride in a new production staged for her by the Metropolitan Opera, and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. The Chicago Tribune wrote: "Graham put her own stamp on the part, bringing both nobility and vibrant vocal beauty to her affecting performance."

At home and abroad, Susan Graham has sung leading roles from the 17th to 20th centuries in the great opera houses of the world, including Milan's La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Dresden's Semperoper, and the Salzburg Festival, and she has appeared with most of the world's leading conductors and orchestras. Dubbed "America's favorite mezzo" by Gramophone magazine, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo captivates audiences with her expressive voice, tall and graceful stature, and engaging acting ability in both comedy and tragedy.

Last season at the Metropolitan Opera, Susan Graham performed not only Iphigénie but also Mozart's Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, and sang recitals in London, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Paris with her frequent collaborator, pianist Malcolm Martineau. Her season finale, with San Francisco Opera as Handel's Ariodante, prompted unanimous praise, including a San Francisco Chronicle tribute: "Susan Graham added one more entry to her long list of triumphs with the company, turning in a performance marked by nobility and technical bravura."

Ms. Graham created the part of Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera, and created leading roles in two Metropolitan Opera world premieres - An American Tragedy by Tobias Picker, and John Harbison's Great Gatsby.

Susan Graham releases two new recordings this season: Un frisson français, with Malcolm Martineau, which surveys a century of French song; and her famous interpretation of La mort de Cléopatre by Hector Berlioz, recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, which is released by EMI Classics. Earlier solo CDs include "Poèmes de l'amour", with Ravel's Shéhérazade and Chausson's Poème de l'amour et de la mer. Among her numerous solo recitals and complete opera recordings, her disc of Charles Ives songs with Pierre-Laurent Aimard won a Grammy, and she received both a Grammy nomination and France's Maria Callas award for her Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. The New York Times review stated: "Ms. Graham ... paints Dido as passionate from the start. 'When I am laid in earth' is as wrenching an account as you'll find on disc."

Ms. Graham's complete opera recordings range from Handel's Alcina and Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride to Barber's Vanessa and Heggie's Dead Man Walking. After a performance of Berlioz's Les Troyans conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Paris Châtelet, and recorded live for DVD, the Gramophone found Ms. Graham's Dido "moving and intense [;] ... strongly acted and magnificently sung."

Born in New Mexico and raised in Texas, Susan Graham studied at Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music, which also awarded her an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 2008. She won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Schwabacher Award from San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, as well as a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. Ms. Graham was Musical America's 2004 Vocalist of the Year and, in 2006, her home town of Midland, Texas, declared September 5th "Susan Graham Day". 

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