Susan Graham – hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times – rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi’s Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. A familiar face at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she also maintains a strong international presence at such key venues as Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, Santa Fe Opera and the Hollywood Bowl. She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music.
This season, Graham makes her role debut as Herodias in Francisco Negrin’s production of Richard Strauss’s Salome at Houston Grand Opera and reprises her celebrated portrayal of Mrs. Patrick De Rocher, mother of the convicted murderer, in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s company premiere of Dead Man Walking. In concert, she sings Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre and excerpts from Les Troyens with Donald Runnicles and the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin at the Berlin Musikfest, revisits her signature interpretation of the composer’s Les nuits d’été with the Vancouver Symphony, and headlines the Jacksonville Symphony 2020 Gala. To complete the season, she graces a “Beyond the Aria” concert in Chicago’s Millennium Park and partners with pianist Malcolm Martineau for recitals of Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder in Berkeley’s Cal Performances series and of her Schumann-inspired Frauenliebe und -leben: Variations program in Fort Worth’s Cliburn Concert Series and at New York’s Lincoln Center.
Last season, Graham joined Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony for Mahler’s Third Symphony at London’s BBC Proms and in Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, and Paris. She made her role debut as Humperdinck’s Witch in Hansel and Gretel at LA Opera, hosted “An Evening with Susan Graham” at Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center, sang Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with David Robertson and the Sydney Symphony, headlined the Mayshad Foundation’s season-closing gala concert in Marrakech, and returned to Carnegie Hall, first with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and then with Alec Baldwin and Leonard Slatkin for the Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Gala Concert. To mark the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death, she performed Les nuits d’été with the Houston Symphony and made her New Zealand debut in La mort de Cléopâtre with the New Zealand Symphony under Edo de Waart. Other highlights of recent seasons include starring in Trouble in Tahiti at Lyric Opera of Chicago to honor the Bernstein Centennial, making her title role debut opposite James Morris in Marc Blitzstein’s 1948 opera Regina at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and appearing alongside Anna Netrebko, Renée Fleming and a host of other luminaries to celebrate the Metropolitan Opera’s five decades at its Lincoln Center home.