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Flicka von Stade to play an Alzheimer’s patient

March 20, 2018 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


The inexhaustible mezzo, 73, says two of her aunts died of the disease.

She’s looking forward to play one of two dementia ladies in Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings, opening at Opera Philadelphia in September.

‘I really didn’t figure out exactly how to sing until I was 55,’ she tells AP. ‘Then I had to extend that to 60, and then I had to extend it to 65, and then I extended it to 70 and now I’m going for 75. And then maybe I’ll figure it out.’

Marietta Simpson and Frederica von Stade. Photo: Dominic Mercier/Opera Philadelphia


Comments (13)

  1. martain smith says:

    She was always such a modest lady… but I would argue she sang extremely well from the very early years on.

    1. Stuart Donaldson says:

      And you’d be right!

  2. Bruce says:

    Just have to give a shout out to this beautiful orchestral song cycle that Dominick Argento wrote for her: Casa Guidi, from letters by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOWtzR5WE8&list=PLdN0Pni6mc2zCVjkZr0l-RF65TfKf3de2

  3. Jimbo says:

    Pedant here; she’s always been known as either Flicka or Frederica von Stade, or in crits, von Stade. She’s not Flicka Von Stade.
    Just as David Bowie was either Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie or Bowie – never Ziggy Bowie or Ziggy Stardust Bowie or even Stardust Bowie.
    Flicka von Stade is just plain made up silly and wrong.

    1. Grammaticus says:

      That was a very enlightening comment. Thank you very much.

    2. Una says:

      Yes, pedant! Ha, ha, or you know her intimately?

      1. Bill says:

        The comment is 100% correct, whether Jimbo knows her or not.

        1. Bruce says:

          …also 100% pedantic 😛

  4. Pianofortissimo says:

    It’s simply wonderful that Frederica von Stade is still active at 72 (soon 73). She’s a wonderful soprano. My favourite Mahler 4 concluding Lied is her recording with Vienna Phil. & Claudio Abbado, she brings not only the child of the song but also the listener to Heaven.

    1. brian says:

      And the best Cherubino ever. Best I’ve seen anyway. She also gave me one of my funniest moments watching opera, 30-odd years ago: my first time seeing here play the role at the Met, during the (un)dressing scene, she drops off his/her shirt (with her back to the audience of course); I sigh loudly and instantly feel my girlfriend’s elbow in my ribs. Later that night I was asked, “are you going to be thinking of me or that pretty mezzo page boy?”

    2. Nik says:

      “She’s a wonderful soprano.” If that’s true, she kept it very quiet throughout her long and distinguished career as a mezzo!

      1. Grammaticus says:

        No doubt about it.

  5. Jeanie says:

    And you will never meet a warmer, more genuine person than our dear Flicka.


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