Susan Graham Mezzo-Soprano will join with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a French Celebration 11 – 22nd July, 2015. This intimate concert features select musicians from one of the world’s most lauded chamber ensembles, with Karen Gomyo on Violin, Ike See on Violin, Christopher Moore on Viola, Timo-Veikko Valve on Cello and Christian Hadland playing the piano in a selection of music at a time when beauty and innovation were important aspects of La Belle Époque. The beautiful era in Europe c1890 to 1914 was when France and its European neighbours were at peace, when art and design flourished and music became accessible to a wider audience than ever before.
Susan Graham has been rewarded by the French for her fine interpretation of French music. She was made Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur dans l’Odre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France’s most prestigious awards. Her ability to master a range of repertoire and formats admired, she has sung at inaugurations for Presidents, received a Grammy award, had a day named after her in her home state of Texas and been a delegate for UNESCO. She’s one of a kind and here in Australia her program consists of songs from La Belle Époque, when the invention of the gramophone meant that lovely melodies and romantic songs performed in the Salon could be recorded.
The New York Times says “Ms Graham is at her best in French, the tangy, nasal quality of which ideally complements her creamy tone.” She will be singing a repertoire from La Belle Époque that includes French composer Maurice Ravel’s settings of three poems by Stéphane Mallarmé, whom he considered to be France’s greatest Symbolist French poet, along with Ottorino Respighi’s setting of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s lyric poem, The Sunset.
During La Belle Époque inventions made life easier at all social levels, the cultural scene thrived, cabaret, cancan, and the cinema were born, and art took new forms with Impressionism and Art Nouveau. Art and architecture in the style of this era in other nations is also sometimes called “Belle Époque” style. From London to Paris to Vienna, Susan Graham sings in all the European capitals. Susan Graham says “My choices of repertoire have all been governed by whether or not the role and the music speak to me. If I don’t love it, I can’t commit myself to it. The main thread is musical integrity and if it has a musical lyricism and a singability. I’m a sucker for a nice melody – I love a good tune!”
Susan Graham will arrive in Australia fresh from a string of phenomenal successes, most recently having conquered that ‘Mount Everest’ of a role, Didon, in Berlioz’ Les Troyens at the San Francisco Opera. Her ‘expressive tone and heartfelt performances’ are renowned. Join A French Celebration – Susan Graham with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Newcastle City Hall, Saturday 11 July, 7.30pm, Sydney – City Recital Hall, Tuesday 14 – 18th July at 7pm, Melbourne Recital Centre, Monday 20 July, 8pm, Adelaide Town Hall, Tuesday 21 July, 8pm, Perth Concert Hall, Wednesday 22 July, 7.30pm – BOOKINGS