An American heroine sings out for the homeless

An American heroine sings out for the homeless


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2015

Frederica von Stade joined a street choir of homeless people Sunday night in Dallas, wearing the orange t-shirt of protest.

Flicka is off the circuit now, no longer obliged to play the diva role.

But in a week when her successors are flaunting excess consumption and tyrant worship, her gesture speaks volumes for the values of art.

Heart above image.

Read full story here.


dallas street choir


  • Has been says:

    What qualifies a singer, no matter how successful, a ‘heroine’ ?

    • SDReader says:

      FvS is an angel, as anyone who knows her will confirm.

    • Richard Cumming-Bruce says:

      She has raised many millions for charities, almost all of it without any fanfare, and by all accounts she is exceptionally willing to support colleagues’ good causes, in music and outside it, without asking for anything for herself. That’s why many people in the music world regard her as a heroine, and an icon.

      It also so happens that her Cherubino was what “lit” my proverbial opera “fuse” about 30 years ago, and she’s CERTAINLY a heroine of mine.

      I read somewhere a little while ago that it’s impossible to find even a single example of her being anything but generous, modest and kind. One surely could not find anyone in the arts world, or for that matter any other world, who sets a better example of humanity at its finest and most uplifting. Let’s celebrate and recognise that, rather than indulge in semantics.

  • Has been says:

    The headline said ‘heroine’ not angel…

    • SDReader says:

      She is also a hero.

    • Dallas Singer says:

      As someone who attended the concert and saw the street choir sing side by side with the great Flicka, I can attest that to these severly disadvantaged men and women, she was their hero for the night. Let’s not miss the point by debating semantics.

  • John Cheek says:

    I’m certainly a great friend, colleague and admirer of Flicka and think what she is doing here is heroic. What I don’t understand is the cheap shot at Debbie Voight for “flaunting excess consumption” presumably because of her book in where she tells as a cautionary tale of her battle with addictions. Did I miss the passages in which she told about how much fun it was to eat and drink too much?

  • Christy says:

    I am very disturbed by the characterization of Ms. Voigt in this story. This is not acceptable form, in my opinion. It takes enormous courage to discuss what Ms. Voigt is discussing. The characterization of her book constitutes addiction-shaming. You seem to be suggesting she should be ashamed that the confronted and successfully fought addiction.

    I am very disappointed – this sort of thing should be beneath this site.

    On behalf of someone who has a family member who struggled with addiction, I say thank you to Ms. Voigt for doing her part to take away the shame of it and providing hope. Don’t let comments like this get you down – you’ve proven you deserve much better.

    • Christy says:

      I will add that addiction shaming like this causes people with addiction problems to continue to hide them instead of working to get well and then helping others.

      Perhaps this is why this issue is kept so quiet in many cases in the classical world – leaving many to never deal with the issue.

      • Una says:

        A wonderful gesture but then that’s the sort of person Frederica is. It shows in her singing and is an inspiring person. A bet she won’t be writing a book about it all … wonderful lady.

  • JDąbrowski says:

    This post is vile even by Norman Lebrecht’s standards. He uses Frederica von Stade’s lovely humanitarian initiatives as an occasion to take potshots at both Anna Netrebko (who is currently being pilloried for donating money to an opera house) and Debbie Voigt. The latter is done in really reprehensible fashion, though frankly I don’t know which is worse. His sustained, gleeful campaign against Netrebko is nauseating.

    What kind of country would we be living in, exactly, if it were run by the tiny group of insane Ukrainian nationalists whose handiwork Lebrecht has been promoting for the past month? The one with crude, Streicheresque cartoons depicting people as monkeys, the over-the-top lies (“Anna Netrebko supports terrorists” — are you serious?), the titanic hypocrisy of the selective outrage. If anyone were targeting individual Israeli musicians (not just institutions) in such a fashion, what would Lebrecht say? We all know that there are plenty of touring Israeli musicians who do not have a fraction of the political courage of a Barenboim, who opposes Israeli warmongering as well as everyone else’s warmongering. Would Lebrecht condone a campaign where they were individually harassed and called Netanyahu’s sycophants, or compared to monkeys? It goes without saying that Lebrecht doesn’t have nearly the courage of a Barenboim, either.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      This is a relatively mild sample of the inflammatory partisan responses we have to wade through each morning in relation to the Ukraine conflict. It’s an inevitable reward for trying to report the news on the cultural front. Slipped Disc has no political position on Russia-Ukraine except when international law is broken and artists, on either side, speak out in support of the violators.