reviewed by Paula Citron
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Jake Heggie, piano
With special guest Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano
In the lush acoustics of the new Koerner Hall, beloved American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade gave her farewell recital and it was a concert to remember. The carefully chosen program was a journey through the singer’s life in song, which included many nods to the American composers that von Stade has always championed.
It is a burnished sound now after a 40 year career, but the singer’s diction is wonderful, and her interpretive skills are near perfection. Von Stade is a master at phrasing and can change personalities to suit the text. Her connection to the words is symbiotic. The singer’s charming patter between the songs made the concert seem very intimate.
Gracing this recital was composer/pianist Jake Heggie who was utterly sympathetic and intuitive in matching von Stade’s interpretations. Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian was on hand to sing a solo and join von Stade in Rossini’s hilarious “Cat Duet”.
The concert was so refreshing because it was totally different from usual recital conventions.