Grammy Award-winning mezzo Susan Graham launches her 2018-19 season in the company of Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom she reprises her celebrated account of Mahler’s Third Symphony on a high-profile European tour that kicks off at London’s BBC Proms and takes in Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, and Paris.
Back in the States, she makes her role debut as the Witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at LA Opera, returns to Carnegie Hall for Mozart and Haydn with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, revisits her signature interpretations of two great French orchestral song cycles, singing Chausson with the Naples Philharmonic and Berlioz with the Houston Symphony, and gives solo recitals in California and Illinois.
After three glorious decades at the highest echelons of the opera world, there is still, as the New York Times put it, “no more satisfying singer than this eminent mezzo-soprano, with her rich, even voice, exquisite musicianship, and warm presence.”
Graham has long won praise for her way with Mahler, and when she sang his monumental Third Symphony with the Boston Symphony and music director Andris Nelsons this past January, their performance was proclaimed “unsurpassed in BSO annals” (Boston Classical Music Scene). Now, after reprising the symphony with the same forces this summer at Tanglewood, she and the conductor and orchestra take their interpretation of the work on a European tour, with dates at London’s BBC Proms (September 2), the Berlin Philharmonie (September 6), Leipzig Gewandhaus (September 8), Vienna Musikverein (September 10), Lucerne Culture & Congress Centre (September 13), and Paris Philharmonie (September 15).
Later this fall, the mezzo returns to LA Opera, where she serves as Artistic Advisor to the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Under the leadership of Music Director James Conlon, she gives her first performances as Humperdinck’s Witch in a dreamlike staging of Hansel and Gretel by Giants Are Small co-founder Doug Fitch (November 17–December 15). Although the production marks Graham’s role debut, her Decca Classics recording of the opera’s famous “Evening Hymn” has been pronounced “velvety and gorgeous” (Opera News).
Graham also looks forward to reuniting with three American orchestras this season. First, with Bernard Labadie and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, she sings two Classical masses – Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s “Nelson Mass” – at New York’s Carnegie Hall (October 25), where her last appearance with the orchestra prompted the New York Times to marvel: “Her performance will surely be remembered by all who heard it.”
As one of today’s foremost exponents of French vocal music, she has been recognized with the French government’s prestigious honorific “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” while Time Out New York considers her “unbeatable in French repertoire.” In concerts marking the 150th anniversary of the Berlioz’s death, she revisits the French composer’s Les nuits d’été with the Houston Symphony and Ludovic Morlot (March 8-10), before joining Florida’s Naples Philharmonic, under Andrey Boreyko, for season-closing performances of Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer (May 3 & 4), of which her Warner Classics recording was proclaimed “well-nigh perfect” (Gramophone).
Rounding out Graham’s season are a pair of U.S. winter solo recitals at California’s Philharmonic Society of Orange County (February 27) and Illinois’s Krannert Center (Feb 2). At the Krannert Center, she reprises the recital program themed around Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben that she recently premiered at London’s Wigmore Hall and subsequently performed at venues across the U.S. and Europe. After the premiere, the Financial Times marveled: “One had to admire [Graham’s] sophistication, her impeccable diction, her subtle dynamic scale, her exquisite top notes.” As The Telegraph added: “Graham exudes an infectious joy in her art.”
Learn more about Graham on her website.