Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Great Singer: Maria Stader

Whilst doing comparisons of Ach, ich fühl's, I stumbled upon the marvel that was Maria Stader.

Born: November 5, 1911 - Budapest, Hungary
Died: April 27, 1999 - Zürich, Switzerland

The class of concert sopranos of the highest rank, long to be considered a vanished race, has found a worthy representative in the Hungarian-born Swiss soprano, Maria Stader, a favourite soloist of many of the worlds greatest conductors. This is not to say that the world of opera was outside the range of her art. Recordings preserve a long series of her beautiful interpretations of Bach and Mozart to Gluck and Puccini. These recordings, numbering over sixty works, have made her well-known to even the most remote areas of the world, illuminating most clearly all the virtues of her uniquely pure and flexible voice, with its bright radiance, beauty and warmth which make it ideal for oratorios and Lieder recitals, commanding the lyrical sphere as surely as that of a coloratura. During the 1960s she also built up a splendid reputation as a Lieder singer.

Maria Stader studied voice with Keller in Karlsruhe, Durigo in Zürich, Lombardi in Milan, and T. Schnabel in New York. She came to the notice of the public by winning first Prize as I. Concourse international dexecution musicale the Genève in 1939.

After a brief career as an opera singer, Maria Stader devoted herself to a distinguished concert career after World War II. She appeared in practically every major musical festival throughout the world. She first came to the attention of the American music public when she was invited by Pablo Casals to appear at the Prades Festivals. In the USA she appeared repeatedly with all the major orchestras as well as on television. Her appearances included the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and New York, the Chicago Symphony, as well as Master Classes and recitals at the Aspen Music Festival. Maria Stader also completed a very successful tours through South America and the Far East.

This impeccably stylistic interpreter of Mozart, in both operatic and concert settings, was awarded the Lilly Lehmann Medal, the Silver Mozart Medal from the city of Salzburg, the Austrian Order of Merit for Arts and Sciences as well as the Hans Georg Neagell Gold Medal from the city of Zürich.

Maria Stader published her autobiography Nehmt meinen Dank (Take my thanks) in 1979.  She gave her final concert in 1969 at Zürich, at which one of her accompanists was the famous Hungarian pianist Geza Anda. Stader also taught voice in Zürich and published a text book on Bach arias that was translated into English in 1968.

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