A profile of Susan Graham.
Boston Globe, January 21, 2007.
Somthing that didn't make it into the article that's worth mentioning is a piece I wasn't familiar with, Ernest Chausson's Poeme de l'amour et de la mer for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. (There's a couple of free mp3s of questionable legality on the Web; I won't link to them, but they're not hard to find. Graham has recorded the piece as well.) Graham sang it on a European tour last year with conductor Phillipe Jordan, who learned the piece from his father, Armin Jordan, who used to perform the work with Felicity Lott. It's a gorgeous slice of French Romanticism, kind of a Gallic counterpart to Elgar's Sea Pictures.
Chausson is often dismissed mainly because he wasn't Debussy, much the same way that 19th-century French academic painting is unfavorably compared with Impressionism. Chausson has something in common with those older painters—they take a dramatic situation or mood, then put a certain distance between the audience and the drama via careful composition and a polished surface. In Chausson, the result is a kind of reticent grandeur that I've always found intriguing.
Update (1/22): My taste is validated: it turns out that the Poèmes already have a formidable fan club led by Opera Chic.