Aphra Behn
Susan Graham experiences Dido's hard life with a lounge lizard

Susan Graham and Nicholas McGegan have never collaborated before. But when they get together, the Texas-raised mezzo-soprano and British conductor behave like an old married couple. On a recent afternoon in Berkeley, the home base of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, a leading period performance ensemble that McGegan has directed for many years, the duo engaged in lively banter about their first artistic partnership -- a six-concert California tour of works by the 17th century English composer Henry Purcell. Graham is known as much for her pants roles in Baroque operas as for her championing of French and contemporary American song. Celebrating Purcell's 350th birthday, the Baroque...