Celebrating 50 years of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center

Next month sees Susan Graham fêting the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center. The American mezzo-soprano, who won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1988 and debuted with the company in 1991 under the baton of James Levine, is featured as part of an all-star lineup on May 7.

Other featured artists in the sold-out gala include Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Ferruccio Furlanetto, René Pape, James Levine, Marco Armiliato, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Director and set designer Julian Crouch and projection designers 59 Productions will stage the concert, which also highlights the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

“Frauenliebe und -leben: Variations” in California, Oregon, and Maryland

Susan GrahamIn the wake of her critically-acclaimed debut as Mrs. De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Susan Graham returns to the recital stage this coming month with three performances spanning the West and East Coasts.

The American mezzo-soprano brings “Frauenliebe und -leben: Variations” — her recital program centered around Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben (“A Woman’s Love and Life”) — to Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre (April 6), Portland’s Lincoln Recital Hall (April 9), and Baltimore’s Shriver Hall (April 23). She is joined at the piano by Malcolm Martineau.

Frauenliebe und -leben: Variations” augments each song from Schumann’s cycle — which tells a story of love, marriage, and death — with related works by Grieg, Strauss, Fauré, Mahler, Ravel, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, and others, expanding thematically upon the iconic work.

Susan Graham “stands out” in Dead Man Walking

16700520_10154976328519098_3194590786415554876_o copyIn her return to Jake Heggie’s work and debut in a new role, Susan Graham has earned acclaim for her account of Mrs. De Rocher in Dead Man Walking at Washington National Opera.

The originator of the role of Sister Helen Prejean, Susan’s turn as eponymous convict Joseph De Rocher’s mother “steals the show,” according to, which went on to add that the American mezzo-soprano “Graham, dressed in the trappings of the typical mom… transcends the limitations of the character’s appearance and externalizes what she feels.”

“Graham stood out for the power and intensity of her voice, especially in her outburst at the pardon board hearing in Act I. She brought dignity and sympathy to the character, who believes quite wrongly in her son’s innocence,” added the Washington Classical Review.

The Washington Post also noted that the character of Mrs. De Rocher “was made all the more touching…by the remarkable mezzo-soprano Susan Graham singing a part that everyone in the audience probably wished were twice as long to better showcase her.”

Dead Man Walking continues at the Kennedy Center through March 11.

Role debut in Dead Man Walking at Washington National Opera

Susan Graham_2Next month, Susan Graham returns to Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera’s revival of the modern operatic classic, singing a new role in a work she helped to create.

When the American mezzo-soprano created the role of Sister Helen Prejean in the work’s world premiere at San Francisco Opera in 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that she “brought not just the ravishing beauty of her mezzo-soprano to Sister Helen but seemed to glow onstage.”

In WNO’s new production helmed by Francesca Zambello, Susan makes her role debut as Mrs. De Rocher. She stars opposite Kate Lindsey as Sister Helen Prejean, as well as Michael Mayes as Joseph De Rocher, Jacqueline Echols as Sister Rose, and Wayne Tigges as Owen Hart.

Michael Christie conducts performances, which take place on February 25 and 27, and March 3, 5, 8, and 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Click here for more information.