Blog / In the Press: Susan Graham

In the Press: Susan Graham

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 by Leo Messias


“a thrilling and memorable concert.” (5 stars)
Phillip Scott, concert review on Limelight Magazine, 14 July
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“Susan Graham is an artist at the height of her powers.”
Murray Black, concert review on The Australian, 14 July

“It is hard to imagine anyone but Ravel setting the exquisite but slippery poetry of ur-symbolist Stephane Mallarme. And it is hard to imagine a better performance of this otherworldly work than Tuesday night’s.”

“Graham put across the sad tale with trenchant feeling and a buttery tone, rich and smooth, and well-matched by the accompanying string quartet.”

Harriet Cunningham, concert review on the Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July
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“It came very naturally to me playing these gender bending ‘trouser roles’. A 14-year old page boy, a 17-year old cavalier, or a Roman senator. When I got into my forties, the younger parts naturally faded into the background. And I did a shift into the ‘big girl parts’… where the spandexes are not as cruel” – Susan Graham on coming of age as an opera singer and leaving ‘trouser roles’ behind.

“Not often we get to play such an incredible voice” – ABC Radio host for Life Matters, Natasha Mitchell, on Susan Graham.

“We are often in the comedy roles… Very seldom do my characters have to die in opera. Because I’m the mezzo, the comic relief, I’m the girl next door, the best friend. The sopranos get to die” – Susan Graham on what it means to be a mezzo-soprano.

Natasha Mitchell, ABC Radio Life Matters Interview
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“When I was nine years old I was going up in an open cockpit biplane doing loop-the-loop with my mother having a heart attack on the ground,” Graham says. “There are all kinds of funny daredevils in my family. I think that being an opera singer is just one more of those.”

Elizabeth Fortescue, extract from The Daily Telegraph feature from 9 June
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Her near 1.8-metre frame and creamy mezzo soprano voice landed her the best boy roles, at least a dozen to date, not that she minded because growing up on the family ranch, climbing trees and racing bikes had turned her into a tomboy anyway. Her breakthrough came in a production of Massenet’s Cherubin, a harbinger of the French repertoire she has championed for much of her concert and recital career.

Her status as a new star was cemented when she won the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions – which promote young talent – in 1988. Other accolades followed, including the sticky epithet “America’s favourite mezzo” by Gramophone Magazine. Graham blossomed in a generation filled with mezzos such as Anne Sofie von Otter, Cecilia Bartoli and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Plenty of competition, but in many ways it was an easier time, she muses, because attention was still focused on the voice.

“Now, people have different priorities regarding the qualities they want their singers to possess. It used to be just the voice but unfortunately it’s secondary sometimes. I have seen voices decline and movie star looks rise in the priority scale.”

Kathy Evans, extract from Sydney Morning Herald feature from 26 June
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11-22 July

America’s favourite mezzo-soprano joins the ACO in a delightful concert featuring French classics.

RAVEL Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
RAVEL Piano Trio in A minor
RESPIGHI Il tramonto
FRANCK Piano Quintet in F minor