Press Room

Susan Graham earns raves as Xerxes in San Francisco

Susan Graham – “America’s favorite mezzo” (Gramophone) – has just scored another major triumph, this time in the title role of Handel’s Xerxes at San Francisco Opera. As Mercury News reports, “hers was a commanding performance,” with Nicholas Hytner’s revival of the Olivier Award-winning staging already looking to be “the hit of the season.”
The San Francisco Chronicle concurs: “It only took about five minutes on Sunday afternoon for the San Francisco Opera’s first production of Handel’s Xerxes to establish itself as a genuine triumph. …For vocal allure, theatrical dexterity, and visual inventiveness, this Xerxes proved to be a complete delight from beginning to end.” As for the Grammy Award-winning mezzo herself,
“In the title role, Graham added to her long catalog of San Francisco successes with a performance of vocal majesty and vigor – her delivery of Xerxes’ big Act II showpiece aria was a tour de force – as well as a comic gift that has rarely been called into evidence.”
The revival features celebrated countertenor David Daniels – also Graham’s co-star in the same staging at Houston Grand Opera last season – as Arsamenes, with Lisette Oropesa as Romilda, and Patrick Summers conducting, under Michael Walling’s direction. “Hands down, this is an exceptional cast,” observes the Bay Area Reporter, admiring the “superb, consistently delightful production” and singling out the way
“Graham, as superb in Baroque coloratura as she is in Romantic lyricism, tosses off one interpolated embellishment after another with the warm, seductive sound for which she is prized. …Her voice and artistic commitment sweep all before them.
In short, as the San Francisco Examiner affirms, the production is another “grand-slam winner” to add to Graham’s burgeoning roster of success stories. 
A further title role follows in the new year, when the mezzo – “everybody’s dream Widow” (Variety) – joins the Paris Opera for Franz Lehár’s popular operetta The Merry Widow, which bows on February 29. In January, Graham embarks on an eight-city North American recital tour with her frequent collaborator, pianist Malcolm Martineau, in repertoire ranging from Purcell to Cole Porter; the two return to Carnegie Hall’s main stage on February 1. As befits a singer designated a “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur” by the French government in recognition of her unrivaled expertise in French repertoire, Graham will feature works by Berlioz, Poulenc, and Duparc.
Susan Graham: upcoming engagements
Nov 11, 16 & 19
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Opera
Handel: Xerxes (Xerxes)
Jan 6, 2012
Québec, QC, Canada
Le Club Musical de Québec
Jan 10
St. Paul, MN
Schubert Club International Artist Series
Jan 14
Berkeley, CA
Zellerbach Hall at University of California, Berkeley
Jan 18
Northridge, CA
CSU Northridge, Valley Performing Arts Center
Jan 22
Morrow, GA
Spivey Hall
Jan 28
Toronto, ON, Canada
Koerner Hall at Telus Centre
Works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Duparc, Sondheim, and Noel Coward
Feb 1
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Feb 4
Washington, DC
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Feb 29; March 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 26 & 29; April 2
Paris, France
Opéra National de Paris
LEHÁR: The Merry Widow (Hanna Glawari)
April 20 & 21
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Berlioz: La Mort de Cléopâtre
June 19
Strasbourg, France
Opéra National du Rhin
Works by Schubert, Berlioz, Schumann, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Duparc, Wolf, Horowitz, Poulenc, Sondheim, and Noel Coward
Follow Susan Graham on Facebook
Follow Susan Graham on Twitter

Return to Press Room