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Frederica von Stade (b1945)

Born into a prominent New Jersey family, von Stade’s forebears included many distinguished establishment figures such as a great-aunt who sang at the Opéra-Comique and a dean of Harvard University. Her father, an officer in the US army, was killed in action two months before her birth. An early ambition was to become a Broadway star and every weekend von Stade would travel to New York to see two musicals, in a matinée and evening performance each. While working as a shop assistant at Tiffany’s, she auditioned for the Mannes School of Music as a bet, despite not being able to read music. In her second year there she moved from being a part-time to a full-time student, and as a pupil of Sebastian Engelberg she gradually developed a previously unrecognised upper range of her voice.




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