Frederica von Stade has given this week a lesson in antidivism in Barcelona. The Mythical American mezzo-soprano, which has been retired for a decade, enjoys from time to time to return to the stage to fiddle with live performance. But at 74, he does not pretend to fool anyone: his voice may not be what it was, but the high doses of humor and the 'blondie' mood that always existed in it, make the audience have a blast at his recital . On Monday he closed the Lied Life Victoria festival in a crowded Sant Pau Center Modernista.
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After a career of more than four decades in theaters and halls of the world – he reigned at the Metropolitan Opera in New York -, Flicka, that's what the family calls her and the fans know her, you have nothing to prove. The idea is to have fun. And when Life Victoria, the festival in memory of the great Victoria of the Angels, invited her to teach a masterclass at the Museu de la Música, she suggested that she could also give a recital
The unexpected offer was very well received by Helena Mora, president of the Victoria de los Ángeles Foundation, and Marc Busquets, director of the cycle. "Yes, look for a pianist," his representative told them. There was no problem. Albert Guinovart, composer and pianist, was the one who had accompanied Victoria de los Angeles in the last years of his career. "Don't tell me more!" Was the answer.
In Sant Pau Modernist Recinte
The artist winked at the expense of the American musical and the French chançon, interspersed between Mahler, Poulenc or Richard Strauss
That was how the night of Monday December 2 became a crazy night with Frederica von Stade. The artist offered a kaleidoscope of what she is capable of doing and spread the spirit and fun, winking at the expense of classics of the American musical and of the French chançon, which interspersed between lieder de Mahler, Poulenc or Richard Strauss. There was even a song with his lyrics and music from Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick), a composer who is still on stage. "The song is about a real case," the mezzo warned. The case of the day that his little daughter Lisa climbed to the roof and the firemen had to come … unusual situation for which he did not skimp on gestures and facial grimaces.
Flicka went from Richard Strauss to La vie en rose, or from Poulenc and Mahler al
Send in the Clowns
from Sondheim. But linking some issues with the others: if he had started with “I am a rose” by Ned Rorem (and Gertudre Stein), he took that rose to Paris, with “Au pré de la rose”, from Cantelouble. And already in the bises he got involved in
Je cherche a millionaire
, from Mistinguett, asking the men sitting in the front row if they were that millionaire he was looking for. Eventually Albert Guinovart spoke from the piano – "Je suis ce millionaire" -, and drawing an elegant and thin line between the lyric and the high standing cabaret.
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The party ended with a peculiar Flicka duo and the young mezzo Helena Ressurreiçao, who had officiated as a telonera. It was about interpreting the famous aria “Voi che sapete", from Le nozze di Figaro from Mozart, finishing the sentences of the other, and passing the turn of the word with unexpected knocks on the arm. A nice children's game that Von Stade had seen in some school and with which he brought the audience to hilarity.
The climax was a dinner of sponsors of the festival with the artists, in the same Modernist Recinte, and with a dozen Photographs of Victoria de los Angeles hanging on the walls. Friends from Vienna had come to see Von Stade, who finished the recital, now had a sling on his arm due to a small accident from which he is recovering. On the table of the artist sat those responsible for Life Victoria, the president of the Liceu, Salvador Alemany or the Cercle del Liceu, Francisco Gaudier, as well as the president of the Palau de la Música, Mariona Carulla.
Victoria de los Angeles was the first classical singer I heard in my life. I met her later at the 92 Olympics. It was amazing. ”
“I have always loved Victoria and I feel very honored to be surrounded by her and her family,” she said in a brief speech, while serving the rock fish consommé of Mercès catering. Victoria de los Angeles had inspired her as a teenager. "She was the first classical singer I heard," he tells this newspaper. “And I met her when they invited me to sing at the closing ceremony of the 92 Olympic Games. I don't remember what I sang but what she sang: that wonderful Cant dels ocells. It was amazing. For me Victoria had in her face all that of music in what I have believed. And his devotion and generosity were unique.
The next morning
While Flicka teaches at the Museu de la Música, the OBC waits in L’Auditori for Guinovart to record a record with his work
And here is when dessert comes, the “Pastís Guinovart”, A proposal by Pastisseria La Canal with the support of Jaume Biarnés, of the Alícia Foundation, which is inspired by the musician … Almonds, because his family comes from Tarragona and Reus; the cookie, because it is something that Guinovart likes … By the way, the next morning the author of Mar i Cel a three-day marathon begins with the OBC, the Symphony of Barcelona and National of Catalonia, recording own work.