Susan Graham Returns to New York Philharmonic and Becomes First Artist-in-Residence at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham returns to the New York Philharmonic for performances of Chausson’s lush Poème de l’amour et de la mer at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis (June 3-5). These New York concerts conclude a season full of drama for the statuesque mezzo – from Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at New York’s Metropolitan Opera to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on a West Coast tour and Handel’s Xerxes at Houston Grand Opera. Of Graham’s run as Handel’s tyrannical, flamboyant Persian king, the Houston Chronicle observed: “She negotiated her arias with aplomb, her smooth, velvety mezzo fluent and confident… . Her portrayal evinced the cocky swagger and confident air of someone accustomed to having his way.”

The New York Philharmonic concerts mark a return to Chausson’s beloved song cycle for Graham. She recorded the half-hour song sequence as the centerpiece of her 2005 Warner Classics album Poèmes de l’amour. When selecting the disc as a monthly “Editor’s Choice” in Gramophone magazine, James Jolly wrote: “Chausson’s Poème de l’amour is one of those overwhelmingly romantic outpourings that is seldom heard in the concert hall and not frequently enough on record. But with a version of such sumptuous color…, Chausson’s work receives a performance that some of us have only dreamed of.” In its glowing review, BBC Music magazine added: “In his song sequence, Chausson became the ultimate musical poet of adolescent splendors and miseries. Susan Graham charts the progress from hope to quietly desperate loss with merciless emotional truth and fine sensitivity to nuances of language, darkening her timbre as anticipation turns to dismay, and intensifying at the approaching ‘inexprimable horreur.’”


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