Mezzo-Soprano Susan Graham Named Dallas Opera's MARIA CALLAS DEBUT ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Dallas Opera has announced the result of this year's balloting for the 2013 "Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year" Award: American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who made an unforgettable Dallas Opera stage debut in the Winspear just a few short weeks ago.
This prestigious award is given to a single performer each season to honor a particularly memorable and outstanding company debut. The selection of Miss Graham, who amazed audiences with her exceptional vocal qualities and powerfully moving portrayal of the inexperienced "Tina" in Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers, was announced earlier this evening at the annual Board and Trustee Appreciation Dinner, sponsored by Sentient Jet and held in the Crescent Ballroom of the Rosewood Crescent Hotel.
Miss Graham's star-turn was singled out from a host of stellar performances by Classical Music Critic Anne Midgette of The Washington Post: "Susan Graham sang ravishingly, with a kind of matter-of-fact excellence, from gentle high pianissimos to an extended a capella duet with (Nathan) Gunn that was at once conversational and lyrical - and, remarkably, on pitch."
Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell remarked in his review that Miss Graham sang the role "stirringly and poignantly...vividly portraying an increasingly conflicted figure."
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones commented, "Susan Graham is amazing as Tina, that spinster niece. Of course, vocally she is at the top of her form and the reigning Queen of Mezzoland. She paints a pathetic picture of Tina: conflicted and anguished, torn between loyalty to Juliana, the responsibility of possessing what might be a masterpiece, and her desire for even a chance at love and a life beyond the crumbling villa. The usually glamorous Graham is transformed into a dowdy and drab cipher of a woman with mousey hair severely pulled back from her face. Such a tempestuous situation, suddenly blowing into her monotonously empty life, leaves her completely drained of what little gumption she ever had."