Mentor, Muse, Mother: The Many Roles of Susan Graham

By Claudia Friedlander
Classical Singer Magazine

While the young developing voice offers enviable ease and agility, legendary mezzo-soprano Susan Graham relishes the vocal maturity she now enjoys. “Where I am now, in my mid 50s—there is a richness to the sound,” she observes. “I was known for a silverish clarity when I was younger, which is why I sang so much Mozart and Handel. I had a real sparkle in my voice that, over the years, has burnished into more bronze than silver.”

She exults in the “big girl” roles she is able to embody now that her voice has taken on greater warmth and depth, including Didon in Les troyens and the title role in Iphigénie en Tauride. “My lower register has come in, there’s more warmth in the lower and middle—and that’s just age. In every aspect of aging, things start to sit lower!” she laughs. “Everything drops a little bit, including the voice! I still have B-flats, don’t get me wrong—sometimes they don’t just pop out the way they once did.”

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