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Houston Symphony Announces All-French Program

Houston Symphony Announces All-French Program

Texas native Susan Graham returns to the Houston Symphony to perform a song cycle that has become a signature work for the operatic superstar as part of the all-French program Debussy's La mer + Susan Graham at 8 p.m. March 8 & 9, and 2:30 p.m. March 10. Each concert will be followed by a free, after-hours performance of French chamber music masterpieces.

Graham is renowned for her interpretation of Hector Berlioz' song cycle Les nuits d'été, which she performs with the Houston Symphony under the baton of the Seattle Symphony's Grammy Award-winning Music Director and acclaimed French music interpreter Ludovic Morlot. Berlioz' smooth, flowing vocal lines are the perfect fit for Graham's seemingly effortless, velvety lyricism, and her affinity for the composer's music was a significant factor in the French government's decision to honor the Texas mezzo-soprano by naming her a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2001.

Having added two more Grammy Awards to his trophy case at this year's award ceremony, Morlot opens the program with Berlioz' sparkling Overture to the opera Béatrice et Bénédict, inspired by Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, one of composer's favorite authors.

Morlot opens the second half of the program with Albert Roussel's Suite from The Spider's Feast, which features delicate orchestrations that depict an evening among the tiny denizens of a French garden. Having devoted his 2018-19 Seattle Symphony season to works by Debussy and related composers, Morlot closes these Houston Symphony concerts with Debussy's La mer. Debussy drew inspiration for his masterpiece from the sea, immersing listeners in an impressionistic and colorful orchestral seascape.

Following the performances, audiences are invited to post-concert chamber music performances of Dutilleux's Les Citations and Ravel's Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet.

Debussy's La mer + Susan Graham program sponsored by Shell takes place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston's Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday-Saturday from 12-6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

About the Houston Symphony

During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and continues its second century as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony's four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg's Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

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