Compared to other types of musicians and singers, opera singers are the ones that I haven’t really seen much of. Even though I don’t know a lot about the rock bands that I often write about, I have at least seen one perform in a local bar. The places that some bands play in are often easily accessible for a lot of people. The tickets for local shows aren’t particularly that expensive. Sometimes there are free shows that are available. But opera is a whole other beast. You really have to be a fan of it to buy a ticket.
I guess it’s really more of the sound than it is the cost of a ticket that I don’t really enjoy about the opera. I’m not particular great at keeping my attention focused towards the people on stage during a production of whatever opera they had that season in the theater. There’s just something about the opera that I particular am not a fan of. It’s not terribly different from musical theater. But I think I enjoy it a lot more than the opera because not everything that they are saying is in a song.
It’s an interesting type of performance art that definitely takes a lot of skill to do. While I am personally not a fan of it, I do have appreciation for the people who do it. I always enjoy the level of commitment it takes for anybody to do their craft well. I am a lot more a fan of the process than the actual work itself. There is something about seeing how the process works that is really enjoyable for me. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to what the technical terms are. I am just mesmerized at seeing people do the thing they’ve spent years doing.
It seems that Frederica von Stade was born into a very prominent family. Her father was a champion in the sport of polo, as was his grandfather. The family on her father’s side had a fairly successful bristle import company that was started when her great-great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany. Her mother was the daughter of a stockbroker and yachtsman. Unfortunately, her father died during his time fighting in World War II. Her mother married a lieutenant colonel about a year after that.
Like a lot of musicians, one of the things I often see in their biographies is that a lot of them grew up with a family that were into music. Sometimes, your father may be a famous drummer for a band. Or they just listened to a lot of music growing up. Those kinds of things influence these artists in some way. In the case of Frederica, her family were very much into music. Her brother sang in an acapella group. Her mother listened to opera on the radio. Her father had some skills in playing the piano and the organ aside from having a good singing voice.
Frederica started singing when she was about six years old. When she was studying at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, she spent some time singing during the processions. By the time she was fourteen, she was riding trains from New Jersey to New York to watch musicals on Broadway. It definitely feels that Frederica had the luxury to do what she wanted. I guess her watching those shows on Broadway lead her to star in a few of the productions when was studying at Far Hills Country Day School.
She took a gap year after graduating from high school. Her grandfather gave her money to do whatever she wanted and her mother suggested that she spend the money to go to Paris. Once there, she did a bunch of jobs like waiting tables and being a part-time nanny. At the same time, she was studying piano. But she didn’t really last long with her studies there because the rest of her classmates were young and very skilled compared to her. She eventually moved back to New York and slowly started her career in performing.
Since the late 1960s, she has done a lot of performances throughout her career. She did different styles of opera up until she sort of retired in 2010. At that point, she had a net worth of about $30,000,000.
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