Press Room

Susan Graham headlines at HGO, Met, & Châtelet; joins BSO at Carnegie; tours; and more

Susan Graham – winner of a Grammy, an Opera News Award, Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year, and hailed by the New York Times as “an artist to treasure” – returns for another compelling season, highlighted by three role debuts. As Houston Grand Opera’s 2013-14 Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, she undertakes Prince Orlofsky in the company’s first staging of Die Fledermaus in 30 years. Then, heading an all-star cast featuring Plácido Domingo and David Daniels at the Metropolitan Opera, she gives her first performances as Sycorax in Jeremy Sams’s surprise hit Baroque pastiche, The Enchanted Island. To conclude the season, she sings her first Anna in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical comedy The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. On the concert stage, Graham joins Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony for Ravel at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall, and pairs Schoenberg and Mahler on a European tour with Pablo Heras-Casado and the Ensemble InterContemporain. After launching the season alongside Deborah Voigt at a special Sing With Haiti benefit concert in San Francisco, Graham co-hosts the prestigious 2013 WQXR/New York Public Radio Gala, and embarks on a tour with pianist Bradley Moore that kicks off with her Kimmel Center recital debut in Philadelphia.
Debuts in Die Fledermaus at HGO, Enchanted Island at Met, and The King and I in Paris
Graham has long enchanted audiences in her signature trouser roles, especially those of Richard Strauss. At Houston Grand Opera, where she currently serves as the inaugural Lynn Wyatt Artist, Graham expands her repertoire to include a cross-dressing role by the other great Strauss. Her first performances as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, by Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss II, mark Houston’s first staging of the operetta in three decades. Dubbed “the perfect entertainment” (Sydney Morning Herald), the production revives an Art Deco-style concept by Lindy Hume that transports the action from imperial Austria-Hungary to 1930s Manhattan. Graham’s co-stars include Liam Bonner, Laura Claycomb, and Anthony Dean Griffey, with Viennese conductor Thomas Rösner on the podium (Oct 25– Nov 10).
For her second role debut of the season, Graham returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera in a revival of The Enchanted Island by Jeremy Sams. Bringing together the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, and their lesser-known contemporaries, Sams’s Baroque fantasy is set to a new English libretto inspired by The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At its premiere, the New York Times pronounced The Enchanted Island a “clever and touching pastiche,” and praised its “remarkable integrity and consistency,” while the UK’s Telegraph called it “a perfect storm of brilliance.” Graham will undertake the lead role of Sycorax, Caliban’s witch mother, supported by David Daniels, Danielle de Niese, and Plácido Domingo, who reprise the roles of Prospero, Ariel, and Neptune (Feb 26–March 20). Graham is no stranger to Baroque coloratura, and her triumphs as Handel’s protagonists are already well documented. In the title role of Xerxes at San Francisco Opera, “hers was a commanding performance,” according to Mercury News; the San Francisco Classical Voice confirmed: “Graham added to her long catalog of San Francisco successes with a performance of vocal majesty and vigorA tour de force.”
In June, the mezzo looks forward to her third and final role debut of the season when she sings Anna, the heroine of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical comedy, The King and I, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Graham’s co-star will be prolific French film star and singer Lambert Wilson, under the direction of Lee Blakeley and choreographer Peggy Hickey (June 13-29). It was with this same production team that Graham recently proved “spectacular” (Santa Fe New Mexican) in her first performances as The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, where she headlined the company’s season-opening new staging of Offenbach’s comic masterpiece.
In collaboration with Boston Symphony and Ensemble InterContemporain
As the New York Times notes, Graham is “an eloquent interpreter of a large repertory.” Nonetheless, it is as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music that she is best known. Widely recognized as “unbeatable in French repertoire” (Time Out New York), she was awarded the French government’s prestigious honorific Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. This season, Graham joins Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony for performances of Ravel’s evocative orchestral song cycle Shéhérazade at Boston’s Symphony Hall (Jan 30–Feb 1) and Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium (Feb 12).
In a second major orchestral collaboration, Graham embarks on a European tour with France’s Ensemble InterContemporain under the leadership of Pablo Heras-Casado. With performances at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Jan 11), Paris’s Cité de la Musique (Jan 14), and in Antwerp (Jan 16), she will serve as soloist in two masterpieces of late Romanticism: Mahler’s first song cycle, the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and the “Lied der Waldtaube” from Schoenberg’s epic cantata, Gürrelieder.
Recital tour, including Kimmel Center recital premiere
When Graham toured with Renée Fleming last season, her pianist was Bradley Moore, who proved “an extraordinarily sensitive collaborator” (Los Angeles Times). In a trio of recitals in April, she reunites with the pianist for a program of works by Berlioz, Purcell, Poulenc, and Cole Porter drawn from her second Onyx album, Virgins, Vixens & Viragos; as the UK’s Sunday Times noted, in a review of the recording: “It’s hard to think of another contemporary singer who could pull off the tour de force Graham achieves here, with numbers ranging over a period of almost 300 years.” The recital tour launches in Philadelphia, where the mezzo makes her Kimmel Center debut (April 2), before heading to Oberlin (April 6) and Akron (April 10).
 “Sing With Haiti” Benefit, WQXR/New York Public Radio Gala, and “In Conversation”
Graham takes part in two important charitable events this fall, launching the season in company with Deborah Voigt, Nicholas Phan, and other distinguished guests at San Francisco’s historic Grace Cathedral, for a special “Sing With Haiti” concert in aid of Port-au-Prince’s Holy Trinity Music School, which fell victim to the 2010 earthquake (Oct 2). The mezzo has also been invited to co-host this year’s annual WQXR/New York Public Radio Gala with Tony- and Emmy-nominated actor Victor Garber. Held at New York’s upscale 583 Park Avenue, the gala will feature Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Nov 18). The following night, the mezzo will share secrets of her craft at a special Opera America event titled “In Conversation with Susan Graham” (Nov 19).
Recent successes
Besides her star turn in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein and the release of Virgins, Vixens & Viragos, highlights of Grahams’s 2012-13 season included the Met’s star-studded Les Troyens revival, in which her portrayal of Didon proved “the big news” (New York Times). She made her long-overdue Dallas Opera debut, singing “ravishingly” (Washington Post) in her first performances as Tina in a new production of Argento’s The Aspern Papers. Marking her first duo recital tour, the mezzo teamed up with Renée Fleming for “ravishing, haunting” (Los Angeles Times) performances at Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, and four more of the nation’s foremost venues. As Theater Jones put it, Graham is “at the top of her form and the reigning Queen of Mezzoland.”
Details of Susan Graham’s upcoming engagements follow, and additional information is provided at
Susan Graham: engagements, 2013-14
Oct 2
San Francisco, CA
“Sing With Haiti” Benefit Concert
Grace Cathedral
Oct 25 & 27; Nov 2, 8 & 10
Houston, TX
Houston Grand Opera / Thomas Rösner
J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus (Prince Orlofsky)
Nov 18
New York, NY
583 Park Avenue
New York Public Radio Gala (co-host)
Nov 19
New York, NY
Opera America
“In Conversation with Susan Graham”
Jan 11-16: European tour with Ensemble InterContemporain / Pablo Heras-Casado
Program – Schoenberg: “Lied der Waldtaube” from Gürrelieder; Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Jan 11: Amsterdam, Holland (Concertgebouw)
Jan 14: Paris, France (Cité de la Musique)
Jan 16: Antwerp, Belgium (deSingel)
Jan 30–Feb 1
Boston, MA
Symphony Hall
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
Ravel: Shéhérazade
Feb 12
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
Ravel: Shéhérazade
Feb 26; March 1, 5, 8, 12, 15 & 20
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Jeremy Sams: The Enchanted Island (Sycorax)
April 2-10: Recital tour with Bradley Moore, piano
Program – works by Berlioz, Purcell, Poulenc, and Cole Porter
April 2: Philadelphia, PA (Kimmel Center)
April 6: Oberlin, OH (Oberlin College & Conservatory)
April 10: Akron, OH (E. J. Thomas Hall, University of Akron)
June 13-29
Paris, France
Théâtre du Châtelet
Rodgers & Hammerstein: The King and I (Anna)
#               #               #
© 21C Media Group, September 2013


Return to Press Room