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Susan Graham's Nightmare

November 2, 2009

susan.jpegEven the most lighthearted and confident stars of the opera stage suffer from moments of unconscious stress. The bubbly American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham is currently in rehearsals with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for a series of six concerts of the music of Henry Purcell. She's playing the legendary Queen of Carthage in Dido and Aeneas. The series begins at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre this Thursday before the artists take off to Palo Alto, Berkeley, Los Angeles and Davis for a couple of weeks.

Yesterday afternoon, while in conversation with Philharmonia Baroque's director, Nicholas McGegan, Graham -- a propos of nothing it seemed -- shared the contents of a nightmare she'd had the night before:

"I had a dream last night that I looked at my contract and it read that I had been engaged to sing not only the role of Dido but three other parts too." Graham's smooth, powered brow furrowed slightly at the unsavory recollection. But McGegan quickly ironed out the creases on his leading lady's face. "No, we're saving you just for Dido," he said, patting her shoulder. "There will be no costume changes for you. It's a one-dress show."

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