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SFCM's Federica Von Stade Inducted Into Opera Hall of Fame

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Von Stade, nicknamed "Flicka," has been a beloved fixture of the San Francisco arts community for years.

February 2, 2024 by Alex Heigl

Frederica Von Stade, a beloved faculty member of SFCM's Coaching and Excerpts department and a fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, has been inducted in to the Opera Hall of Fame. 

In an interview with NPR, Von Stade recalled how she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1970 and reflected on some of the memorable moments of her career, her teachers, and her advice for the students she teaches at SFCM.

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"The thing I tell them the most is not to be hard on themselves," Von Stade said. "I think that, born with the gift of a voice and developing that voice, one tends to be pretty hard on themselves." She added a phrase she got from her teacher at the Mannes School of Music, Sebastian Engelberg: "Sing with all the meaning you can find in the words. Never underestimate the value of the words because it's all about telling a story, and it's all about communication and making people feel what you feel about it and what the song is about."

The Opera Hall of Fame is an initiative started by OPERA America to "recognize the achievements of outstanding living Americans and Canadians who have strengthened the art form and the field." Among Stade's peers in the 2023 class are:

  • Michael Bronson, six-time Emmy winner and technical and business administrator for the Met Opera.
  • Wayne S. Brown, former director of music and opera for the National Endowment for the Arts and current president and CEO of Detroit Opera.
  • Anthony Davis, composer and educator, whose most recent opera, The Central Park Five, received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
  • Susan Feder,  program officer in the Arts and Culture program at the Mellon Foundation for the past 15 years. 
  • Frayda B. Lindemann, president emerita of the Metropolitan Opera Association, board member of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and chair of OPERA America.
  • Sherrill Milnes, three-time GRAMMY award-winning baritone and educator famed for his Verdi roles.

Learn more about the Coaching and Excerpts department at SFCM.