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Musical World

Frederica von Stade

  • Mezzo-Soprano


Frederica von Stade press reviews

"One of America's finest artists and singers" - The New York Times
"Von Stade can do no wrong. Her singing was polished yet warm, like china under whose thin glaze are painted scenes of extraordinary delicacy. One heard dainty, loving anticipation and the solitary soul. It was something close to ecstasy."

- New York Newsday

"During the past three decades, Frederica von Stade has gathered legions of admirers worldwide. They're a fiercely loyal company, and it's easy to understand why. Her stage performances and recitals combine superior artistry with emotional directness, clarity of tone with crystalline diction, natural elegance with unpretentious passion."

- Donald Spoto, Opera News


In Concert with Erich Kunzel - the Ravinia Festival

"Von Stade seems to have a wonderful time on stage, and it's impossible not to have a good time along with her."

- Sarah Bryan Miller, Chicago Tribune

Review of Richard Danielpour's "Elegies" on Sony Classics

"Von Stade has made some of the most consistently rewarding vocal records of the past twenty-five years. Fifty-three at the time of this recording, she still has the unique tangerine timbre that has always identified her, and she still sounds remarkably youthful."

- Opera News - September 2001

In recital - Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley

"Even if she were not one of the great singers of our day, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade could probably draw a full house of people eager just to be in her presence and watch her be herself. She's that enchanting. Von Stade communicates something to her listeners - a startling radiance compounded of serene grace and simple delight - that few other recitalists can match.

Those qualities came through in the breezy, unaffected way she introduced the evening's repertoire - a series of French chansons, some new American tunes and a smidgen of Schoenberg - and they came through even more clearly in her singing itself. Accompanied by pianist Martin Katz, von Stade transformed each piece into a gentle, shimmering moment of emotional truth.

Vocally, the singer continues to offer a comprehensive catalog of virtues. Her tone remains lustrous and even throughout its range. Her phrasing is eloquent and subtle, her technique discreetly precise, her diction magnificent."

- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

In recital - Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto

"A distinguished alumna of the Metropolitan Opera and a cherished interpreter of such roles as Melisande, Cherubino and Octavian, she is one of relatively few opera stars who look and sound equally comfortable on a recital stage.

When she walked out last night in a voluminous full-length gown, she personified elegance, American style, her smile and sparkling personality winning her audience's commitment before so much as a note proceeded from her mouth.

The notes, when they came, were certainly well-formed, properly pitched and beautifully phrased, but what made them so welcome was the sense that their meaning had everything to do with serving a song rather than showing off a voice. There was an almost conversational quality to the way she presented the songs that had the effect of shrinking the hall to the dimensions of a drawing room."

- William Littler, Toronto Star

In recital - Pantages Theatre, Tacoma

"Endowed with one of the most beautiful voices and a technique to match, von Stade swept into the Pantages Theatre like a breath of spring air, captivating her appreciative audience with characteristic openness, honesty and lack of pretension. Like all great recitalists, von Stade is a superb storyteller, able to capture and communicate the essential character and mood of each song with telling effect.

Unlike opera, an art song tells a story, defines its characters and establishes an emotional ambience in just a few brief minutes. A wonderfully accomplished actress, von Stade becomes the song and draws one into the composer's creation with unaffected ease.

Rich and creamy, the singer's mezzo-soprano voice wraps one in glorious sound. Von Stade's extraordinary sense of line, and her remarkable ability to shade and color the voice imbues her singing with constant variety. There is never any sense of effort in her singing. The voice just flows."

- Cary Smith, The News Tribune

In concert with Seattle Symphony

"Lovely to look at as well as to hear, von Stade is a performer who locks into an audience, reaching right into the crowd with her voice and her radiant smile, and mesmerizing her listeners with the sense that she is singing only for them.

'Les Nuits d'été' ('Summer Nights') is deceptively difficult, with its long, flowing lines requiring strong vocal technique, support and a wide range. Von Stade gave an elegant and warmhearted performance, sung in beautifully articulated French that rang out so clearly in Benaroya Hall that you could follow every word. She clearly transmitted the emotional content of the eloquent Gautier poems about love, nature and death."

- Belinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

In concert with Spokane Symphony Orchestra

"Von Stade defines what is meant by 'charisma' for a musical artist. From the moment the mezzo-soprano came on stage, the audience was drawn into what she was singing and how she was singing it.

- Travis Rivers

In concert with Chanticleer - Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

"The music world boasts no slyer or more enchanting upstager than Frederica von Stade.

The ever-delightful mezzo-soprano joined Chanticleer on Friday night for a wondrous concert in Calvary Presbyterian Church and promptly took up residence in the spotlight. No one minded - not the audience and not the splendid men's chorus, which seemed perfectly content to spend the evening as a 12-headed accompanist.

It's impossible to begrudge von Stade her effortless charisma and lustrous musicianship. Not only is her singing entrancing and her stage presence pure magic, but she also manages to project an endearing air of modesty about the whole thing."

- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle