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Geneva Anderson digs into art

Gordon Getty’s 80th Birthday concert with Plácido Domingo, Frederica von Stade, MTT and the San Francisco Symphony, January 6, 2014, at Davies Symphony Hall

Gordon Getty thanking the crowd for his “Happy Birthday” serenade, enthusiastically sung by the Davies audience, SFS Chorus, accompanied by SFS  (son Billy Getty is to the right).  Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Gordon Getty thanking the crowd for his “Happy Birthday” serenade, enthusiastically sung by the Davies audience and SFS Chorus, accompanied by SFS (son Billy Getty is to the right; step-mother Teddy Getty Gaston in green and wife Ann Getty sporting a huge emerald broach by JAR (from Gordon) to her right). Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in the world premiere of Gordon Getty’s A Prayer for My Daughter.  Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in the world premiere of Gordon Getty’s “A Prayer for My Daughter.” Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Gordon Getty on stage at Davies Symphony Hall after the world premiere his new work, “A Prayer for My Daughter.”  Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Gordon Getty on stage at Davies Symphony Hall after the world premiere his new work, “A Prayer for My Daughter.” Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Plácido Domingo returned  to perform with the SFS for the first time since his debut with the Orchestra more than forty years ago—a 1973 performance of Verdi’s Requiem with then-Music Director Edo de Waart.   From the moment he stepped on stage to conduct Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus,” Domingo generated a buoyant high that carried Gordon Getty’s 80th birthday celebration.  When he sang “Di Provenza il mar, il suol” from Verdi’s “La Traviata,” the audience went wild. The Spanish tenor (who turns 73 on January 21, 2014) has sung 144 operatic roles and is currently the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera.  Photo: IPS

Plácido Domingo returned to perform with the SFS for the first time since his debut with the Orchestra more than forty years ago—a 1973 performance of Verdi’s Requiem with then-Music Director Edo de Waart. From the moment he stepped on stage to conduct Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus,” Domingo generated a buoyant high that carried the celebration. When he sang “Di Provenza il mar, il suol” from Verdi’s “La Traviata,” the audience went wild. Getty later told the audience that Domingo had once performed the entire second Act of “La Traviata” for him in his home. The Spanish tenor (who turns 73 on January 21, 2014) has sung 144 operatic roles and is currently the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera. Photo: IPS

Frederica von Stade (“Flicka”) and Plácido Domingo’s “Lippen schweigen” duet from Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” concluded with a delightful waltz.  Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Frederica von Stade (“Flicka”) and Plácido Domingo’s “Lippen schweigen” duet from Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” concluded with a delightful waltz. Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Pianist Robin Sutherland and soprano Lisa Delan performed Gordon Getty’s “Four Dickinson Songs” which included the beloved “A Bird Came Down the Walk” and “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” Getty has been enthralled with Emily Dickinson since his college days and in 2012 released “The White Election,” (written in 1981), a song cycle on 32 Dickinson poems, sung by Delan. Getty’s collaboration with Delan began in the 1998 when she sang the title role in the world premiere of his "Joan and the Bells," a role she has since reprised in France, Germany, the U.S., and Russia. Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Pianist Robin Sutherland and soprano Lisa Delan performed Gordon Getty’s “Four Dickinson Songs” which included the beloved “A Bird Came Down the Walk” and “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” Getty has been enthralled with Emily Dickinson since his college days and in 2012 released “The White Election,” (written in 1981), a song cycle on 32 Dickinson poems, sung by Delan. Getty’s collaboration with Delan began in the 1998 when she sang the title role in the world premiere of his “Joan and the Bells,” a role she has since reprised in France, Germany, the U.S., and Russia. Photo: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Urns of fragrant red roses adorned the lobby of Davies Symphony Hall for Gordon Getty’s 80th Birthday bash.  Getty has served on the SFS Board of Governors since 1979.  During his tenure, he and his wife, Ann, have provided leadership and generous support for some the Symphony’s most important initiatives, including the acoustic renovation of Davies Symphony Hall in 1990, the Grammy award-winning Mahler recording cycle, and the Orchestra’s international tours.  Photo: Geneva Anderson

Urns of fragrant red roses adorned the lobby of Davies Symphony Hall for Gordon Getty’s 80th Birthday bash. Getty has served on the SFS Board of Governors since 1979. During his tenure, he and his wife, Ann, have provided leadership and generous support for some the Symphony’s most important initiatives, including the acoustic renovation of Davies Symphony Hall in 1990, the Grammy award-winning Mahler recording cycle, and the Orchestra’s international tours. Photo: Geneva Anderson

Grammy Time!  Davies sparkled with cabinets displaying San Francisco Symphony wins.  Last year’s Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for its live recording of works by Bay Area composer John Adams added up to the 15th Grammy for San Francisco Symphony.  Photo: Geneva Anderson

Grammy Time! Davies sparkled with cabinets displaying San Francisco Symphony wins. Last year’s Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for its live recording of works by Bay Area composer John Adams added up to the 15th Grammy for San Francisco Symphony. Photo: Geneva Anderson

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January 10, 2014 Posted by | Classical Music | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s our turn: the Bay Area honors “Flicka” with a special retirement tribute December 3, 2011

Opera Superstar Mezzo Soprano and long time Bay Area resident, Frederica von Stade, “Flicka,” is retiring. A special tribute concert celebrating her career will be held Saturday, December 3, 2011. Here, von Stade plays the diva Madeline Mitchell in “Three Decembers,” a chamber opera composed especially for her by Jake Heggie, and performed in 2008 at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. Photo by Kristen Loken.

For the past year, the beloved opera superstar Frederica von Stade, a long-time Bay Area resident affectionately known as “Flicka,” has been making farewell appearances and the great opera houses and concert halls worldwide, whose stages she has graced for the past 40 years have been paying tribute, one by one.  Now, it’s the Bay Area’s turn.  On Saturday, December 3, 2011, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Performances, Cal Performances, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will join in an unprecedented team effort to celebrate the illustrious life and career of our treasured mezzo, arts advocate, and musical celebrity.  

Eight extraordinary artists and friends of von Stade─and some as of yet unannounced surprise guests─ will lead the special one night only musical tribute, joined by von Stade and accompanied by Jake Heggie, John Churchwell and Bryndon Hassman: Sir Thomas Allen, baritone; Susannah Biller, soprano; Zheng Cao, mezzo-soprano; Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano; Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano; Samuel Ramey, bass; and Richard Stilwell, baritone.

The concert will feature highlights from von Stade’s expansive performance and recording career, including arias from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria; songs by Ravel, Mahler, Poulenc and Berlioz; selections from American musical theater; and contemporary songs by Jake Heggie.  The evening will also feature personal tributes and recollections of working with Ms. von Stade.

An intimate gala reception with the artists in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House will follow the performance, with proceeds supporting University of California Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program and the St. Martin de Porres Catholic School in Oakland.

What’s it like to work with Flicka?  Rauli Garcia, who is the CFO of HGO  (Houston Grand Opera) made his stage debut as a supernumerary in Dead Man Walking earlier this year and his account “What a rush!”was posted on the HGO (Houston Grand Opera) blog on January 31, 2011. 

Frederica von Stade made her debut with San Francisco Opera in 1971 and has sung most of the great roles in opera over her 40 year career. Photo: courtesy San Francisco Opera

Recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures of our time, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade began at the very top, receiving a contract from Sir Rudolf Bing during the Metropolitan Opera auditions and since her debut has enriched classical music for over four decades with appearances in opera, concert and recital.  The first aria in her career was Thomas’s “Connais-tu le pays”.  Von Stade has sung nearly all the great roles with the Met and in 2000, the company celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut with a new production of The Merry Widow.  She made her 1971 San Francisco Opera debut as Sextus (La Clemenza di Tito) with Spring Opera Theater and her main stage debut in 1972 as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), and has appeared with San Francisco Opera in more than a dozen roles, including Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Countess Geschwitz (Lulu) and the title roles of La Sonnambula, La Cenerentola, and The Merry Widow. She created two roles in world premiere productions by San Francisco Opera: Marquise de Merteuil in Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons and Mrs. Patrick de Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking; she also created the role of Madeline Mitchell in Jake Heggie’s chamber opera Three Decembers, presented in its West Coast premiere by San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances in 2008.

Known as a bel canto specialist, von Stade is also beloved in the French repertoire, including the title role of Offenbach’s La Périchole. She is also a favorite interpreter of the great “trouser” roles, from Strauss’s Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Octavian to Mozart’s Sextus, Idamante (Idomeneo), and Cherubino. Von Stade’s artistry has inspired the revival of neglected works such as Massenet’s Chérubin, Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon, Rameau’s Dardanus, and Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and she has garnered critical and popular acclaim in her vast French orchestral repertoire, including Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été and Canteloube’s Les Chants d’Auvergne. She is well known to audiences around the world through her numerous featured appearances on television including several PBS specials and “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts.

Miss von Stade has made over seventy recordings with every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums. Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy’s Premio della Critica Discografica, and “Best of the Year” citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. She has enjoyed the distinction of holding simultaneously the first and second places on national sales charts for Angel/EMI’s Show Boat and Telarc’s The Sound of Music.

Von Stade was appointed as an officer of France’s L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998, France’s highest honor in the Arts, and in 1983 she was honored with an award given at the White House by President Reagan. She holds five honorary doctorates from Yale University, Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (which holds a Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice), the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and her alma mater, the Mannes School of Music. 

Details:  Celebrating Frederica von Stade, Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA  94102.  Tickets for the concert are $50, $75 and $100.  Tickets for the gala reception, which includes premium seating for the concert, are $500.  Tickets for the concert and gala reception are available at http://www.sfopera.com  or the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue, or by phone at (415) 864-3330.

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment