Frederica von Stade



Frederica von Stade, is an American mezzo-soprano. Born in Somerville, New Jersey, she acquired the nickname Flicka in her childhood. Von Stade attended the Mannes College of Music in New York City. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1970 and in 1971 appeared as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera. "It was two of the newcomers who left the audience dazzled: Frederica von Stade as Cherubino and Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess. Everyone knew at once that these were brilliant finds. History has confirmed that first impression." (Eleanor Scott, The First Twenty Years of The Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Sunstone Press, 1976).

Trained in the bel canto style, von Stade is known for her roles in Rossini's The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola. In addition to opera, von Stade has also performed a wide range of music including that from The Sound of Music and Show Boat and has appeared on numerous PBS specials, most notably in 1991's A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert. She has also appeared in many Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts for CBS. Von Stade is also a respected recital artist, performing works ranging from Mozart and Haydn to Broadway show tunes.

Composers, including Dominick Argento, Jake Heggie and Richard Danielpour, have produced works specifically for von Stade. She originated the role of "Tina" in Dallas Opera's world premiere production of Argento's The Aspern Papers. She has also recorded other works by Argento.[1] Danielpour composed Elegies for orchestra, mezzo-soprano, and baritone in memory of von Stade's father, Charles von Stade, who was killed late in World War II, two months before von Stade's birth. Elegies premiered in January 1998 with the Jacksonville Symphony led by Roger Nierenberg and has now been recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2008, she created the role of "Madeline" in the opera Last Acts, a part which the composer Jake Heggie had especially written for her.

Von Stade was the featured performer at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and also sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Cultural Olympiad held in conjunction with the games. She also sang at the choir's annual Christmas Concert the following year.

She currently resides in Alameda, California where she gives performances supporting the arts in local schools.


She has made over sixty recordings, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums. She has done humorous recordings, such as Songs of the Cat with Garrison Keillor. Her Show Boat album was a bestseller. She has also appeared with Kathleen Battle and Judi Dench on Seiji Ozawa's recording of Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disque awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy's Premio della Critica Discografica, and "Best of the Year" citations by Stereo Review and Opera News.


Von Stade was honored with an award in 1983 at The White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts and by France's highest honor in the Arts as an officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


Von Stade was the idol of a key character in the CBS series Northern Exposure (her interpretation of Bailero from Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne appeared on its original soundtrack album).

A case summary involving a dispute over marital property and earnings between Ms. Von Stade and Peter Elkus, formerly her husband, appears in Dukeminier's Property text, commonly used in the first year of law school.

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Composers' compositions