Sandra Graham. Mezzo-soprano, b Toronto 2 Jun 1955; ARCT 1975. She trained at the RCMT with Megan Rutledge, at the Banff SFA in 1978, and in West Germany. In 1978 she was soloist with the Festival Singers in the premiere of Claude Vivier'sJournal. She joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf in 1979. In addition to oratorio and recital work in Düsseldorf, she performed many small operatic roles and made her debut in a major role in 1981 as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel. She returned to Canada in 1982. She won first prize in the MSO Concours in 1983 and the COC Young Canadian Mozart Singers' Competition in 1984, and was a prize winner in the Montreal International Music Competition in 1985 and in vocal competitions in 's-Hertogenbosch and Toulouse in 1986. Also in 1986, she was the first singer to be awarded the Canada Council'sVirginia P. Moore Prize.
Graham made her Canadian professional operatic debut with Stuart Hamilton's Opera in Concert, as Anne Boleyn in Saint-Saëns' Henry VIII in 1984 and has subsequently sung with every major Canadian company in such operas as Die Fledermaus (Orlofsky), Madama Butterfly (Suzuki), Werther (Charlotte), Così fan tutte (Dorabella), Eugene Onegin (Olga), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira), and Samson and Delilah (Delilah). Robert Everett-Green praised her 'deliciously cheeky performance' (Globe & Mail 23 Oct 1989) as Baba the Turk in the Vancouver Opera production of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Graham has appeared frequently as a soloist in oratorio and concert performances with leading choirs and orchestras across Canada. In 1985 she sang in Imant Raminsh'sMagnificat with the Tudor Singers of Montreal, and was soloist in the North American premiere of Penderecki's Polish Requiem, directed by the composer. As a recitalist, Graham made her London debut at Wigmore Hall in 1986. She toured China in 1988, giving recitals and master classes with her husband, bass-baritone Ingemar Korjus. She performed Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with Ottawa's Pierrot Ensemble at Music at Sharon in 1988, and in 1989 she toured with the NACO singing Mahler's Kindertotenlieder. She sang the title role in Orlando in the 1986 CBC TV film Vivaldi, and her 1988 recital for the Indianapolis Concert of Champions was televised on PBS.
Graham has recorded Prévost'sAhimsa, with Robert Aitken, the Elmer Iseler Singers, and the Orford String Quartet (1984, 2-Centrediscs CMC-14-1584/RCI 585/6-ACM 28), Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the MSO (1985, RCI 606), and the role of Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (1987, Telarc CD-80162). Her voice has been admired for its warmth, beauty and expressiveness. Arnulf Zweig wrote in his review of a 1988 performance of the Verdi Requiem 'Canadian mezzo-soprano Sandra Graham, regal in bearing and as beautiful to listen to as to watch, has a voice that is rich and even from top to bottom. Her technique is superb, especially in the use of "portamento," the graceful sliding between high and low notes that is the mark of authentic Italian opera singers'. (Eugene, Ore Register Guard, 6 Jul 1988).