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Special Friend To Join Kiri In Wellington Concert

September 20, 2005.

Special Friend To Join Kiri In Wellington Concert

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will return to Wellington for a spectacular one-off Gala Concert in February, with a surprise for opera lovers - she’s bringing a special friend, who has been described as one of America’s finest artists and singers.

Legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade will join Dame Kiri, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conductor James Judd and the NBR New Zealand Opera’s Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus. ‘Dame Kiri & Friends – the Gala Concert’, to be presented by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation in association with UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers will be staged at the Michael Fowler Centre on 11 February, 2006 to benefit Dame Kiri’s Foundation to assist young New Zealand musicians and singers, and will also feature some highly talented young singers selected by Dame Kiri.

Dame Kiri says Frederica, who is affectionately known as “Flicka” to family, friends and fans, “is one of the classical world’s most-beloved Divas”.

“Flicka is a great musician, a marvellously generous and supportive colleague, and a simply wonderful singer who has enriched the world of classical music for more than three decades performing in all of the world’s leading opera houses.”

Dame Kiri has worked with Flicka on many occasions since 1970, when they first performed Marriage of Figaro in New Mexico.

“We’ve been great friends ever since,” said Dame Kiri.

Flicka has become an internationally renowned concert artist, performing with virtually every great orchestra and conductor throughout America and Europe. A recent San Francisco Chronicle review of a recital praised her “effortless charisma and lustrous musicianship”, describing her singing as “enchanting” and her stage presence as “pure magic”. The New York Times defined her as “one of America’s finest artists and singers.”


Dame Kiri said she was thrilled that she had at last managed to persuade Flicka to come to New Zealand – “not that it took too much persuasion; Flicka has seen and heard so much about New Zealand from me and others, and can’t wait to get here to see it all for herself.”

“We’re both really looking forward to the opportunity to perform together again at the Wellington concert. We’ll be joined on stage by some highly talented young singers and the NBR New Zealand Opera chorus, in a programme of arias, duets and ensembles from operatic and concert repertoire.

“The marvellous New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will play, under the baton of another very good friend, James Judd.”

Dame Kiri said Flicka has generously donated her services for the concert, as had she for the benefit of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2004 to assist young New Zealand singers and musicians.

Tickets go on sale to the public, through Ticketek, at 9am on October 10, 2005.


ENDS

Further biographical details on Frederica von Stade available from her website http://www.fredericavonstade.com/

Further information of Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation available at www.kiritekanawa.org


FREDERICA VON STADE

Mezzo-soprano

Described by the New York Times as "one of America's finest artists and singers," Frederica von Stade continues to be extolled as one of the music world's most beloved figures. Known to family, friends, and fans by her nickname "Flicka," the mezzo-soprano has enriched the world of classical music for three decades.

Miss von Stade's career has taken her to the stages of the world's great opera houses and concert halls. She began at the top, when she received a contract from Sir Rudolf Bing during the Metropolitan Opera auditions, and since her debut in 1970 she has sung nearly all of her great roles with that company. In January 2000, the company celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut with a new production of The Merry Widow specifically for her, and in 1995, as a celebration of her 25th anniversary, the Metropolitan Opera created for her a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. In addition, Miss von Stade has appeared with every leading American opera company, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. Her career in Europe has been no less spectacular, with new productions mounted for her at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and the Paris Opera. She is invited regularly by the finest conductors, among them Claudio Abbado, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas, to appear in concert with the world's leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Washington's National Symphony, and the Orchestra of La Scala.

With impressive versatility, she has effortlessly traversed an ever-broadening spectrum of musical styles and dramatic characterizations. A noted bel canto specialist, she excelled as the heroines of Rossini's La cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia and Bellini's La sonnambula. She is an unmatched stylist in the French repertoire: a delectable Mignon or Périchole, a regal Marguerite in Berlioz' La damnation de Faust, and, in one critic's words, "the Mélisande of one's dreams." Her elegant figure and keen imagination have made her the world's favorite interpreter of the great trouser roles, from Strauss' Oktavian and Composer to Mozart's Sesto, Idamante and - magically, indelibly - Cherubino. Miss von Stade's artistry has inspired the revival of neglected works such as Massenet's Cherubin, Thomas' Mignon, Rameau's Dardanus, and Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Her ability as a singing actress has allowed her to portray wonderful works in operetta and musical theater including the title role in The Merry Widow and Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Her repertoire is continually expanding with the works of contemporary composers. She created the role of Tina in Dallas Opera's world premiere production of Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers (a work written for her) as well as the role of Madame de Merteuil in the Conrad Susa's Dangerous Liaisons and Mrs. Patrick De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, both for San Francisco Opera.

Frederica von Stade's orchestral repertoire is equally broad, embracing works from the Baroque to those of today's composers. She has garnered critical and popular acclaim in her vast French repertoire as one of the world's finest interpreters of Ravel's Shéhérazade, Berlioz's Les nuits d'été, and Canteloube's Les chants d'Auvergne as well as the orchestrated songs of Debussy and Duparc. She is continually in demand for the symphonic works of the great Austrian and German composers including Mozart and Mahler, as well as the new works of American composers.

It was the American composer Richard Danielpour who in 1998 helped Frederica von Stade to realize an artistic and personal dream when he wrote Elegies. The work, scored for orchestra, mezzo-soprano and baritone, is a tribute to Miss von Stade's father, Charles von Stade, who was killed in the final days of World War II, and is based on the text of letters Mr. von Stade sent to his wife during the war. It is through these letters that Frederica von Stade came to know her father, who died two months before her birth. In January 1998 the Jacksonville Symphony, led by Roger Nierenberg, offered the world premiere of Elegies with performances in Florida and in New York's Carnegie Hall. Elegies is available on SONY Classical and has been performed throughout North America and Europe.

Unparalleled in her artistry as a recitalist, Miss von Stade combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional musicianship with a rare gift for communication, enriching audiences throughout the world. Here, too, her repertoire encompasses a rich variety, from the classical style of Mozart and Haydn to the popular songs of Broadway's greatest musicals; from Italian "Arie antiche" to the songs of contemporary composers - who compose especially for her - such as Dominick Argento and Jake Heggie.

She 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.

Miss von Stade appears regularly on television, through numerous PBS and other broadcasts. In 2002 she was seen on national television in a concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as part of the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. In 2001 she participated in the opening of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts performing in a concert together with Sir Elton John, Andre Watts, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Other highlights of recent television appearances include a gala concert with the San Francisco Symphony to open the 1998-99 season at New York's Carnegie Hall and a "Live from Lincoln Center" television event opening the 1999 season of the Mostly Mozart Festival, both broadcast throughout North America. She can be seen in "Live from the Met" performances as Cherubino, Hansel, and Idamante, and through PBS broadcasts of her celebration of the art of American song with Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne, Dawn Upshaw and Jerry Hadley in a program at New York's Town Hall titled "I Hear America Singing," as well as a program with Tyne Daly which included arias, art songs and popular crossover material. Also seen on PBS were a holiday special, "Christmas with Flicka," shot on location in Salzburg, "A Carnegie Hall Christmas" with Kathleen Battle, and an evening of operatic and musical theater selections with Samuel Ramey and Jerry Hadley titled "Flicka and Friends." Her recent portrayals in Dangerous Liaisons and The Aspern Papers were broadcast throughout North America. She can also be seen in the Unitel film of the classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production of La cenerentola.

Frederica von Stade is the holder of 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. In 1998 Miss von Stade was awarded France's highest honor in the Arts when she was appointed as an officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 1983 she was honored with an award given at The White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts.

* * * * * * * * * *

F R E D E R I C A V O N S T A D E

Mezzo-soprano


Season 2004-2005

Angel/EMI * BMG/RCA * CBS Masterworks * London/Decca * Deutsche Grammophon

Erato * Highbridge * Philips Classics * SONY Classical * Teldec Classics * Telarc

PLEASE DESTROY ANY PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS

Personal Direction:
JEFFREY D. VANDERVEEN, Director

For more information about Frederica von Stade, please visit her website at:

http://www.fredericavonstade.com

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