Opera Stars Renee Fleming and Susan Graham Join Voices for Magical Evening of Duets at The McCallum, 1/22
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by David Green
Soprano Renee Fleming and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Graham, two of the world's foremost stars of opera, join together for a rare recital of duets at The McCallum Theatre on January 22 at 8:00 pm. Through selections from the French, German and American repertoire, the compelling and dynamic singers will create a lively evening of collaboration.
As a musical statesman, Renée Fleming has been sought after for distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the 2008 Olympic Games to the televised We Are One:The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert. In 2012, Ms. Fleming sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth. Ms. Fleming has also performed for the U.S. Supreme Court and, in 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic's "Velvet Revolution" at the invitation of Václav Havel. In 2008, breaking precedent, Ms. Fleming became the first woman to solo headline an opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera.
In 2012, Renée Fleming added a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos, at Baden-Baden to her repertoire. She appeared in the title role of Arabella in a new production at the Paris Opera and as Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at the Munich Opernfestspiele. Ms. Fleming began the 2012-13 season as Desdemona in Otello at the Metropolitan and 2013 will also find her at Carnegie Hall and Lyric Opera of Chicago as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and in Vienna as the Countess inCappriccio. Her busy concert calendar has included galas and recitals throughout the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia.
A three-time Grammy winner, Ms. Fleming won a 2010 Grammy for Verismo, a CD featuring rarely heard Italian arias. In 2010, she released Dark Hope, covering songs by indie-rock and pop artists. Recent DVD releases include Rodelinda; Traviata; and Renée Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg. Ms. Fleming has recorded everything from Strauss's completeDaphne to the jazz album Haunted Heart to the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. She recorded the theme song "Still Dream" for the 2012 animated feature Rise of the Guardians. Ms. Fleming has also performed works by contemporary composers, including Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, André Previn, and Wayne Shorter.
Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal; Sweden's Polar Prize; the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneurfrom the French government; the Victoire d'Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique; honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music; and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School.
Born in New Mexico and raised in Texas, Susan Graham studied at Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music which awarded her an honorary Doctor of Music in 2008. She won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Schwabacher Award from San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, and was Musical America's 2004 Vocalist of the Year.
In the coming season, at Teatro Real Madrid and at her home company, New York's Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Graham will star opposite Plácido Domingo in Iphigénie en Tauride. At Houston Grand Opera, she portrays the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra, she sings Marguerite in Damnation de Faust. She also opens the new season with Poème de l'amour et de la mer with the Orchestre de Paris.
Last season, she sang Rückert-Lieder with the San Francisco Symphony. She returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and she portrayed Dido in Dido and Aeneaswith the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Lyric Opera of Chicago welcomed her for her first company performance in Damnation de Faust which she performed during the 2008-09 season at the Met. With Houston Grand Opera, she sang the title role in Xerxes. She ended the 2009-10 season performing Poème de l'amour et de la mer with the New York Philharmonic.
Ms. Graham is a leader in the international Christoph Gluck opera revival. She has sung the title role in Iphigénie en Tauride in a production staged for her by the Metropolitan Opera, and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Ms. Graham created the part of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera and created leading roles in two Metropolitan Opera world premieres: An American Tragedy and The Great Gatsby.
Two seasons ago, Ms. Graham expanded her discography with two recordings: Un frisson françaiswith pianist Malcolm Martineau and her interpretation of Berlioz's La mort de Cléopatre. Earlier solo CDs include Poèmes de l'amour, and her disc of Charles Ives songs with Pierre-Laurent Aimard won a Grammy. She received both a Grammy nomination and France's Maria Callas award for her Dido in Dido and Aeneas. Her complete opera recordings range from Handel's Alcina and Gluck'sIphigénie en Tauride to Barber's Vanessa and Heggie's Dead Man Walking.
Presented through the generosity of Joan and David Traitel, Renee Fleming and Susan Graham perform in recital at McCallum Theatre on Tuesday, January 22, at 8:00pm. Tickets are priced at $205, $135, $95 and $75 and are available at the Theatre's web site at www.mccallumtheatre.com or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at (760) 340-2787 (ARTS).