Press Room

Susan Graham: 2009-10 season

September 16, GrammyAward-winning
mezzo-soprano Susan Graham officially kicks off her 2009-10 season with
performances at the opening of the San Francisco Symphony’s “Mahler Festival
2009” under Michael Tilson Thomas. 
Her season highlights also include returns to the Metropolitan Opera, in
her signature role as Octavian in Strauss’s Rosenkavalier,
first in October and then again in the new year; to Lyric Opera of Chicago, as
Marguerite in Berlioz’s Damnation de
in early spring; and to Houston Grand Opera as Handel’s Xerxes in
April and May. 

American mezzo recently ended her summer with the poignant honor of singing
Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at the funeral of Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Boston on
August 29.  Immediately afterwards,
she traveled to Japan for Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival, where she sang three
performances of Ravel’s Shéhérazade.  Next she heads to San Francisco, to
perform Mahler’s cycle of songs on texts by Friedrich Rückert under Michael
Tilson Thomas, and records them as part of the highly praised series of
Mahler’s symphonies and song cycles with the San Francisco Symphony.  This will be Graham’s first recording
of a Mahler song cycle with orchestra.

Susan Graham returns to
the Metropolitan Opera in Der

portrayal of the youthful Viennese nobleman Octavian in Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier has become one of her most
popular and idiomatic characterizations, and, on October 13, she returns to the
Metropolitan Opera for the first of four performances in the role.  She sings four more, beginning on New
Year’s Day 2010, all under Met Maestro James Levine and famously paired again
with Renée Fleming’s Marschallin.  These
are Graham’s first Met performances of DerRosenkavalier since April 2005.

San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre on November 5, Susan Graham begins a tour with
the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and its conductor Nicolas McGegan, during
which she’ll sing five concerts as the Queen of Carthage in Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.  London’s Sunday Telegraph raved about Graham’s EMI recording of the work: “Susan
Graham sings Dido with controlled intensity and a richly burnished tone in this
excellent new recording, conducted with exhilarating verve by Emmanuelle Haïm.  The casting is top-class, with Ian
Bostridge a plaintive Aeneas, Camilla Tilling effervescent as Belinda, and
Felicity Palmer a ripe Sorceress.  David
Daniels is the Spirit, Paul Agnew the Sailor.  A distinguished interpretation of this masterpiece.”

her tour with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Susan Graham returns to New
York to host the 2009 Opera News Awards on November 19.  The Gala Awards dinner at Gotham Hall
will feature tributes to this year’s honorees: soprano Martina Arroyo,
mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, bass-baritone Gerald Finley, composer Philip
Glass, and mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett. 
For the second year in a row, Graham co-hosts the event with baritone
Thomas Hampson.  After the Opera
News Awards ceremony, Susan Graham is back on the road for recitals in Carmel, CA and at the
Schubert Club in St. Paul, MN.

Susan Graham brings her singular
Berlioz Marguerite to Chicago

a complete change of pace (and venue), Graham is to sing Berlioz’s Marguerite
at Lyric Opera of Chicago in La damnation
de Faust
, opening February 14, 2010 in the second new production she will
have done in two seasons, after the Met’s last year.  That production was transmitted internationally by “The Met:
Live in HD” and was one of the biggest hits of the 2008-09 season.  “The production features an all-star cast,” said the Associated Press review, one of many praising her Marguerite,
continuing: “Graham
has the ideal voice for Berlioz – a mezzo with a dark richness that blossoms
into lush soprano-like tones – and she’s a perfect instrument for the devil’s
seduction of Faust’s pure soul.” 
Lyric’s new Damnation de Faust
production is by Stephen Langridge and George Souglides, and it opens on
February 14, 2010.

as one of the foremost singers of French repertoire today, Graham earned praise
everywhere she toured last winter with the Berlioz orchestral song-cycle Les nuits d’été.  These comments from Chicago are

alluring American mezzo-soprano and Berlioz’s music are a match made in vocal
heaven, and her performance of that composer’s song cycle, Les nuits d’été (“Summer Nights”) could only be called
exquisite.  The six songs demand
the qualities that Graham has in abundance – a beautiful voice that can be
lightened and darkened with ease and is secure throughout a wide range; a
natural command of French vocal style, diction, and nuance; and the ability to
project an emotional range from rapturous delight to bitter bereavement.”

Chicago Tribune

great mezzo-soprano Susan Graham [gave] the finest performance of Berlioz’s
song cycle Les nuits d’été that this
listener has ever heard. …

Chicago Sun-Times

a “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur,” has recorded much French repertoire, but
her most recent solo recording, “Un frisson français”, has been an especial hit
internationally.  She and pianist
Malcolm Martineau have also toured with the program – comprising nearly two
dozen songs by as many composers – to great acclaim.  Time Out New York has
called her “unbeatable in French repertoire,” and the recital Graham and
Martineau gave this past summer, at the Verbier Festival in French-speaking
Switzerland, brought down the house. 
, writing for, described
the joy of hearing “the
radiant voice of Susan Graham – and the obvious joy she herself clearly has –
interpreting the words, phrases, and inflexions of what seems to be her second
native language.” (August 21, 2009)

Susan Graham returns to
Houston in Handel’s Xerxes

her performances of Handel’s Ariodante
in San Francisco in 2008, Graham was enormously successful; starting on April
30, 2010 at Houston Grand Opera she takes on another great heroic Handel title
character – Xerxes (Serse, in the
Italian version of these Houston performances).  Serse opens the opera with probably the most famous
non-religious aria in Handel’s enormous output, sometimes known as a love-song
to a tree: “Ombra mai fù”, often referred to as Handel’s “Largo”.  The Wall
Street Journal
wrote of her Ariodante last year: “There can be few living singers who can do such spellbinding
justice both to Handel’s stark emotions and his heavenly music as Susan Graham…
. She was totally compelling both in romantic ecstasy and in abject dismay.”


Susan Graham: 2009-10 season

September 16,
17, 19, and 20, 2009

San Francisco,

Mahler: Rückert-Lieder

San Francisco
Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas

October 13, 16,
19, and 22, 2009

New York, NY

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)

Opera / James Levine

November 5, 2009

San Francisco,

Herbst Theatre

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Baroque Orchestra / Nicolas McGegan

November 6, 2009

Palo Alto, CA

First United
Methodist Church

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Baroque Orchestra / Nicolas McGegan

November 7 and 8,

Berkeley, CA

Congregational Church

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Baroque Orchestra / Nicolas McGegan

November 11,

Los Angeles, CA

Walt Disney Concert

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Baroque Orchestra / Nicolas McGegan

November 14,

Davis, CA

Mondavi Center

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Baroque Orchestra / Nicolas McGegan

November 29,


Sunset Cultural

Recital: TBA

December 2, 2009

St Paul, MN

Schubert Club,
Ordway Center

Recital: TBA

Martineau, piano

January 1, 6, 9,
and 15, 2010

New York, NY

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)

Opera / James Levine

February 20 and
24, 2010; March 2, 5, 8, 13, and 17, 2010

Chicago, IL

Lyric Opera of

Berlioz: La damnation de Faust (Marguerite)

April 30, 2010;
May 2, 8, 12, and 14

Houston, TX

Handel: Xerxes (Serse – title role)

Houston Grand
Opera / William Lacy

June 3–5, 2010

New York, NY

Chausson: Poème de l’amour et de la mer

Avery Fisher

New York
Philharmonic / Sir Andrew Davis

# # #

© 21C Media Group, September 2009

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