Artist Profile: America’s Mezzo, Susan Graham

By David Salazar

Of the major American singers to appear onstage in the late 20th century, Susan Graham is one that has stood out among the crowd.

Born in Roswell, New Mexico, she was a graduate of the Texas Tech University and Manhattan School of Music. Her early career was filled with major success as she took home the top prizes in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions and also received the Schwabacher Award from the Merola Young Artist Program.

Her career has seen her appear at all the major opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Opéra National de Paris, among others.

She has established herself as a champion of contemporary American composers and sang during the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2005. She also sang the “Ave Maria” for Senator Edward Kennedy’s funeral and is a US delegate for UNESCO.

Major Roles

Graham’s repertoire is undeniably one of the most extensive there is. She has engaged in a wide range of modern works as well as many classics of the baroque, classical, and romantic era.

One of her noted interpretations is that of Octavian in “Der Rosenkavalier,” but one could also look upon Hanna Glawari as an iconic turn from her in recent years. She has also been a major exponent of numerous Mozart operas, especially “Le Nozze di Figaro.” She also sang the role of Didon from “Les Troyens” extensively throughout much of her career. She appeared in the role in Paris, New York, and San Francisco.

Read More on Graham 

An Exclusive Interview With the Mezzo From 2017

Watch and Listen

Here she is in an excerpt from “Der Rosenkavalier” alongside Renée Fleming.

Here’s a taste of some of her Mozart and baroque repertoire.


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