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Susan Graham tours Europe with Ensemble InterContemporain, stars at Carnegie and Met

Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham – hailed by the New York Times for “her rich, even voice, exquisite musicianship and warm presence” – kicks off her New Year by going on a European tour with France’s great Ensemble InterContemporain under Pablo Heras-Casado. The tour includes performances at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Jan 11) and Paris’s Cité de la Musique (Jan 14), as well as in Antwerp (Jan 16). Graham will be singing two masterpieces of late Romanticism: Mahler’s first song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and the “Lied der Waldtaube” from Schoenberg’s epic cantata, Gurrelieder. Graham – who has won the Opera News Award and been named Musical America Vocalist of the Year – will be seen on national TV in the U.S. before she goes on tour in Europe: On January 10 at 9:00 p.m. EST, PBS’s Live at Lincoln Center will broadcast the all-star “Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration” gala held recently at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, where the mezzo was featured in a lineup of today’s greatest singers. Following that broadcast, Graham – recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music and a recipient of the French government’s prestigious honorific Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur – joins Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony for performances of Ravel’s orchestral song cycle Shéhérazade at Boston’s Symphony Hall (Jan 30–Feb 1) and Carnegie Hall (Feb 12). Then heading an all-star cast featuring Plácido Domingo and David Daniels at the Metropolitan Opera, Graham gives her first performances as Sycorax in Jeremy Sams’s hit Baroque pastiche, The Enchanted Island (Feb 26-March 20).
The Enchanted Island brings together music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell and their lesser-known contemporaries, in a Shakespearean fantasy based on 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. Graham is no stranger to Baroque coloratura, with her triumphs as Handel’s protagonists already well documented. In the title role of Handel’s Xerxes at San Francisco Opera, “hers was a commanding performance,” according to the San Jose Mercury News, while San Francisco Classical Voice praised her singing for its “vocal majesty and vigor.”
Recital tour, King and I, more
Graham toured with soprano Renée Fleming last season, along with their pianist Bradley Moore, “an extraordinarily sensitive collaborator,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In March and April, she reunites with Moore for a program of works by Berlioz, Purcell, Poulenc and Cole Porter drawn from her second Onyx album, Virgins, Vixens & Viragos. In a review of the recording, the UK’s Sunday Times noted: “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 on March 28 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Then it’s on to Philadelphia, where the mezzo makes her Kimmel Center recital debut (April 2), and the tour winds up with two Ohio performances, in Oberlin (April 6) and Akron (April 10).
The following month, Graham joins Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall to sing another of her signature pieces: Berlioz’s orchestral song cycle Les nuits d’été (May 14). And in Spain, she revisits Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Madrid’s Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real under Christoph von Dohnányi (May 22).
To cap her season, Graham sings the heroine Anna in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (June 13-29). Her co-star in this classic musical comedy will be French film star and singer Lambert Wilson, under the direction of Lee Blakeley and choreographer Peggy Hickey. It was with this same production team that Graham recently proved “spectacular” (Santa Fe New Mexican) in the title role of Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, where she headlined the company’s season-opening new staging of the comic masterpiece. From Mahler and Schoenberg with the Ensemble InterContemporain to Ravel with the Boston Symphony, from Baroque pastiche at the Met to vintage musical comedy in Paris, the singer’s upcoming performances promise to underscore the apt judgment of the New Yorker: “Graham’s mezzo-soprano is a voice without regrets – healthy, rounded, ineffably musical, and eager for a challenge.”
Susan Graham: upcoming engagements
Jan 11-16
European tour with Ensemble InterContemporain / Pablo Heras-Casado
Schoenberg: “Lied der Waldtaube” from Gurrelieder
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
The Enchanted Island (Sycorax)
April 2-10
Recital tour with Bradley Moore, piano
Works by Berlioz, Purcell, Poulenc and Cole Porter
March 28: Myrtle Beach, SC (First Presbyterian Church)
April 2: Philadelphia, PA (Kimmel Center)
April 6: Oberlin, OH (Oberlin College & Conservatory)
April 10: Akron, OH (E. J. Thomas Hall, University of Akron)
May 14
London, UK
Royal Festival Hall
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Dutoit
Berlioz: Les nuits d’été
May 22
Madrid, Spain
Teatro Real
Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real / Christoph von Dohnányi
Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
June 13-29
Paris, France
Théâtre du Châtelet
Rodgers & Hammerstein: The King and I (Anna)
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