Frederica Von Stade, With Verve and Vitality
By Tim Page
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 12, 2005; C01

Some great musicians are revered, others are loved; the mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade is both. The capacity audience that greeted her Vocal Arts Society-sponsored recital … would happily have listened to her for hours …

her mixture of patrician elegance and tomboy playfulness is unchanged … she … sing[s] with a direct emotional honesty that is … unusual and affecting …

She shared the evening with the baritone Richard Stilwell … The two joined forces for an impassioned yet proportionate rendition of the final duet [from Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria] …

Stilwell['s] … singing was suffused with character, intelligence and, when it was called for, abundant good humor … Stilwell's caressing way with phonics and nuance was poetic in itself.

In some ways, the most touching performance of the evening was the duet "I Remember It Well" from Lerner and Loewe's "Gigi." … Stilwell and von Stade added a new sense of compassion to this bittersweet number … In the film, the song comes off as a rather tart disputation. Here, it seemed nothing less than an affirmation of permanent and unconditional love …

Von Stade and Stilwell were accompanied by pianist Laurana Mitchelmore, who moved deftly to the harpsichord for the Monteverdi selection. There was worthy support from lutenist Howard Bass, viola da gambist Kenneth Slowik and flutist Julietta Curenton.

Program

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)  RS
L'Horizon Chimérique    
   La mer est infinie
   Je me suis embarqué
   Diane, Séléné
   Vaisseaux, nous vous aurons aimés      

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910) FvS
Bonjour, mon cœur       
Die Sterne
Berceuse
Indécision

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Old American Songs, selected
At the River       RS
Little Horses      FvS
Zion's Walls       RS
Simple Gifts      FvS
I bought me a cat!  FvS & RS
           

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) FvS & RS
Final Duet from Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria           

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Four selected songs     
 
Liebst du um Schönheit   FvS
Der Tambourg'sell          RS
Rheinlegendchen           FvS
Lob des hohen Verstandes FvS & RS

Charles Ives (1874-1954) RS
The Greatest Man      
Vivian LeWine (1963-) FvS    
Zeal                             
Charles Ives RS
Autumn                        
Lee Hoiby (1926-) FvS
The Serpent                  

Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986)
Ah, yes, I remember it well         from Gigi  
Irving Berlin (1889-1989)        
Anything you can do, I can do better   from Annie Get your Gun