Frederica von Stade was born in 1945, grew up in New Jersey, and dreamed of a singing career on Broadway before being auditioned by Sir Rudolf Bing and assigned to several small roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 1970. Paris Opera Director Rolf Lieberman heard an early performance and encouraged her to perform Mozart’s Cherubino in Paris. Cherubino became her signature role, in addition to performing a great range of lyric mezzo roles in opera houses all over the world. Several composers wrote for her; her greatest collaborator has been Jake Heggie. She has lived for many years in Alameda, California, where she enjoys sailing with Mike Gorman, her husband. She retired from the opera stage in 2012 and continues teaching and performing. In this interview, von Stade discusses bel canto, Rossini’s coloratura heroines in La Cenerentola and Barber of Seville, and her love for French operas by Massenet, Thomas, Berlioz, Debussy, and Poulenc.




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