Susan Graham

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Graham hosting the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors in 2008

Susan Graham (born July 23, 1960, Roswell, New Mexico) is an American mezzo-soprano.

Life and career[edit]

Raised in Midland, Texas, Graham is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music. Her teachers have included Cynthia Hoffmann and Marlena Malas. She studied the piano for 13 years.[1] She was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, and also a recipient of the Schwabacher Award from the Merola Program of San Francisco Opera.

Graham made her international début at Covent Garden in 1994, playing Massenet's Chérubin.[2] She has also premièred several roles in contemporary operas, including John Harbison's The Great Gatsby (Jordan Baker), Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (Sister Helen Prejean), and Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy (Sondra Finchley).[3]

Graham is a noted champion of the French song repertoire[4] and of songs by contemporary American composers, including Ned Rorem and Lowell Liebermann.[5] Graham made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in April 2003,[6] and a recording of this recital was later released.

Graham sang "Bless This House" at George W. Bush's second inauguration on January 20, 2005,[2] and Schubert's "Ave Maria" at the nationally televised funeral mass for Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts on August 29, 2009. She is a US delegate for UNESCO.[7][8]

Opera roles[edit]

Graham at the Metropolitan Opera opening in 2008

Her operatic roles include:


  • 2001 Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres)[26]
  • June 2005 Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters
  • Musical America 2004 Vocalist of the Year
  • 2004 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance, for her album Ives: Songs (The Things Our Fathers Loved; The Housatonic At Stockbridge, Etc.)
  • 2005 Opera News Award
  • September 5, 2006 Midland, Texas first annual "Susan Graham Day"[27]
  • May 2008, Honorary Doctorate, Manhattan School of Music

Some of the recordings have also received awards. See below.


  • Susan Graham – French Songs Ideale Audience International: 3079128 (DVD)
  • Mahler: Songs with Orchestra, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas Avie: 82193600362
  • Passing By: Songs by Jake Heggie Avie: AV2198 (singing "At The Statue Of Venus: A Lucky Child")


  1. ^ Martin Kettle, "America's most wanted". The Guardian, December 10, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hugh Canning, "Everything but the girl". The Times, March 11, 2007.
  3. ^ Anthony Tommasini, "Dreiser's Chilling Tale of Ambition and Its Price". New York Times, December 5, 2005.
  4. ^ Allan Kozinn, "Taking a Two-Century Voyage Through the Music of France". New York Times, January 31, 2007.
  5. ^ Anthony Tommasini, "A Singer at Ease in Opera and in Song Repertory". New York Times, April 19, 2000.
  6. ^ Allan Kozinn, "A Brisk Tour, Concluding With a Boa". New York Times, April 18, 2003.
  7. ^ "Susan Graham". U. S. Department of State – Commission for UNESCO.
  8. ^ "Mrs. Bush's Remarks to UNESCO Plenary Session in Paris". September 29, 2003. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  9. ^ The Observer (Anthony Holden) Vanessa, you've been a very lucky girl November 23, 2003
  10. ^ The Guardian (Tim Ashley) Vanessa November 18, 2003
  11. ^ Philip Anson Béatrice et Bénédict: Bis! July 1, 1997
  12. ^ Great Performances at the Met – “Les Troyens” June 30, 2013
  13. ^ The Guardian (Edward Greenfield) A new leash of life August 19, 2000
  14. ^ Renée Fleming Fifty ways to sing about love
  15. ^ The Guardian (Martin Kettle) Great Scott! Jay and Daisy bring the jazz age to the Met
  16. ^ Anne Midgette, "How to Take a Widow Three Stages Past Merry". New York Times, December 24, 2003.
  17. ^ Anthony Tommasini, "The Merry Widow Meets The Embarrassed Fiancée". New York Times, January 2, 2004.
  18. ^ The Guardian (Alfred Hickling) Louche cannon October 10, 2003
  19. ^ Bernard Holland, "What Use an Update if Hearts Beat Still the Same?". New York Times, October 26, 2004.
  20. ^ The Guardian (George Hall) La Clemenza di Tito May 4, 2005
  21. ^ Bernard Holland, "Haunted by the Deaths of Martyrs, a Century Apart". New York Times, August 1, 2005.
  22. ^ Anthony Tommasini, "A Lithuanian Soprano Creates Her Own Ariadne ". New York Times, September 27, 2005.
  23. ^ The Guardian (Tim Ashley) Ariadne auf Naxos June 24, 2004
  24. ^ The Observer (Anthony Holden) Even the corpse is fantastic
  25. ^ Jeremy Eichler, "Lushly Lamenting the Wages of Time and a Lost Golden Age". New York Times, March 15, 2005.
  26. ^ Ned Rorem and Susan Graham Decoration Archived October 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Midland, Texas declares Sept 5 “Susan Graham Day” Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Eric Dahan: Les méli-mélodies de Susan Graham. Libération, May 3, 2000 (interview).
  29. ^ The Guardian (Andrew Clements) Pretty vacant February 18, 2000
  30. ^ The Guardian (Edward Greenfield) Classical CD releases November 3, 2000
  31. ^ The Guardian (Tim Ashley) Classical CD releases April 6, 2001
  32. ^ The Guardian (Andrew Clements) Classical CD releases April 5, 2002
  33. ^ BBC Classical Review (Andrew McGregor) Susan Graham at Carnegie Hall (includes audio samples)
  34. ^ New York (Peter G. Davis) Cosi Fan Tutte, Beatrice et Benedict, Susan Graham Archived November 4, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Dart, William (November 26, 2003). "On track: Album captures special occasion for Susan Graham". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  36. ^ BBC Classical Review (Andrew McGregor) Ives: Concord Sonata, Songs, Pierre-Laurent Aimard/Susan Graham
  37. ^ The New York Times (Jeremy Eichler) The Best Classical CD's of 2004; IVES: SONGS, 'CONCORD' SONATA
  38. ^ The Observer (Anthony Holden) Ives, Piano Sonata No 2 'Concord' May 16, 2004
  39. ^ The Guardian (Andrew Clements) Ives: Piano Sonata No 2, Concorde; Songs: Graham/ Aimard May 7, 2004
  40. ^ The Guardian (Edward Greenfield) Barber: Vanessa, Brewer/ Graham/ Wyn-Rogers/ Burden/ Davies/ BBC Singers and SO/ Slatkin
  41. ^ BBC Classical Review (Andrew McGregor) Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, Susan Graham, Ian Bostridge etc (includes samples)
  42. ^ The New York Times (Allan Kozinn) The Best Classical CD's of 2004; PURCELL: 'DIDO AND AENEAS'
  43. ^ The Guardian (Andrew Clements) Chausson Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer; Ravel: Shéhérazade; Debussy (arr. Adams): Le Livre de Baudelaire: Graham/ BBC SO/ Tortelier May 20, 2005
  44. ^ The Observer (Anthony Holden) Debussy/Chausson/Ravel, Songs May 15, 2005
  45. ^ The Observer (Anthony Holden) Classical CDs: Mozart | Sacred Songs | Matthew Taylor October 23, 2005
  46. ^ Rick Jones Simon Rattle: Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique The Times August 30, 2008
  47. ^ Anthony Holden Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique Berlin Philharmonic/Rattle (EMI 216 2240) # The Observer August 31, 2008

External links[edit]