Susan Graham

Berkshire Review

Openings: Boston Musica Viva plays Boulez, Marteau sans maître, and Nelsons and the BSO present Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier

One hoped and expected there would be performances of Pierre Boulez pieces in Boston this season to honor this great musician who died last winter. The Berlin Philharmonic, hardly a local group, will play one piece on its visit here in November. I don’t see anything else on the horizon. So, many thanks to Boston Musica Viva, our fine contemporary music ensemble now in its 48th year, for opening its season with Boulez’s perhaps most significant work, Le Marteau sans maître (The Hammer without a Master, 1954-57).
Music

Birthday Bashes Abound in the Big Apple: Garrison Keillor at 70 and Barbara Cook at 85

It isn’t often that two luminaries of the entertainment world publicly mark major milestones in the same week and city. Yet such was the case last week in New York: on Tuesday, Garrison Keillor reflected upon seven decades of life in a special appearance with the New York Philharmonic, and on Thursday, Barbara Cook celebrated her eighty-fifth birthday in Carnegie Hall, exactly one week in anticipation of the actual day.
Opera

Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Met with Susan Graham and Plácido Domingo

What a splendid idea to revive Gluck's final masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride, on two great stages at opposite ends of the continent. Gluck, the great reformer, has been too long little more than a chapter — or, worse — a section of a chapter in music history books, and recent attempts to bring his works to life on 21st century stages are for the most part commendable, whether they succeed or not, although I did sense a touch of cynicism in the excruciatingly fashionable Orphée of Mark Morris and Isaac Mizrahi — and a fashion statement (or ad) is not what we want in these unmitigatedly dignified works.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Susan Graham Sings French Songs at Cadogan Hall

Matinee musicale. On a sunny day off Sloane Square, it was a perfect idea to skip lunch and listen instead to an hour of French songs. The singer was Susan Graham, the acclaimed Texas-born mezzo who has made a speciality of this repertoire, like Frederica von Stade before her. Ever since the Twenties, when young expatriates travelled to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, there's been a preference in New York and Boston, now rather slim, for chansons over lieder. Graham has made a recording of songs by Ned Rorem, who duplicates the ephemeral delicacy and finely etched sophistication found in Ravel, Poulenc, and Debussy. The virtues of the French art song are either delectable or debatable, depending on your orientation. Paris or Vienna? I lean so far to the latter that I hesitated about going to hear Graham's recital, but I knew her singing would be very accomplished, so I took my seat in the front row at Cadogan Hall.
Opera

Don Giovanni at the Met x 2

Metropolitan Opera House
Don Giovanni
Mozart-Da Ponte
Conductor – Louis Langrée
Continuo: Dennis Giauque, Harpsichord
David Heiss, Cello
Mandolin Solo: Joyce Rasmussen Balint

Production – Marthe Keller
Set Designer – Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer – Christine Rabot-Pinson
Lighting Designer – …

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