Von Stade Soars with University Symphony Print
Music - Feature Stories
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 18:00
Eastern Iowa is fast becoming a cultural hub between Chicago, Minneapolis, and Omaha. With stops in Iowa City by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and most recently mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade, Quad Citians have been within a 40-minute drive and a $10 ticket price of world-renowned performers. Moreover, Stade’s stop in Iowa City last week marked the second year in a row the University of Iowa has brought in a top soloist to perform alongside the University Symphony Orchestra. Von Stade’s performance was a unique experience for the audience and the orchestra.

Von Stade has established herself as a virtuouso of both traditional classical vocal works and opera. Since 1970, she has wowed opera audiences around the world and has garnered critical acclaim for her interpretations of French vocal music, including composer Joseph Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne.

The first half of the October 17 symphony concert featured an uninspired performance of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (Pastorale). Typically, the horns were wont to lag behind the rest of the orchestra, and the interpretation was rudimentary.

But Von Stade was the reason the audience was there, and she performed a lovely collection of songs from Canteloube and Gustav Mahler (Lieder aus Des Knaben Wunderhorn). Canteloube’s songs matched the bucolic theme set out in the Beethoven symphony, and the Mahler songs expanded on the motif. The concluding medley of songs by Jerome Kern nearly spoiled the evening because they didn’t fit with the prior pieces. But even the misplaced songs did not hinder the soaring performance of Von Stade.
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