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Opera legends to perform in LACA's concert season

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By Special to the Monitor

The Musical Fireworks season of the Los Alamos Concert Association continues Jan. 11 with a blockbuster performance by two operatic legends, Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Duane Smith Auditorium, and will be followed by a gala invitation-only reception for contributors to the Karolyn Coulter Memorial Concert Foundation. This will be one of their few joint appearances this year, and the only one in New Mexico.Von Stade has been described by the New York Times as “one of America’s finest artists and singers.” Recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures of our time, she has enriched the world of classical music for three decades with her appearances in opera, concert and recital.Von Stade’s career has taken her to the stages of the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. She began at the top, when she received a contract from Sir Rudolf Bing during the Metropolitan Opera auditions, and since her debut in 1970 she has sung nearly all of her great roles with that company. Von Stade has appeared with every leading American opera company, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. Her career in Europe has been no less spectacular, with new productions mounted for her at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera and the Paris Opera.She is well known to audiences around the world through her numerous featured appearances on television including several PBS specials and “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts. She has made over 70 recordings with every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs and popular crossover albums.Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy’s Premio della Critica Discografica, and “Best of the Year” citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. Von Stade was awarded France's highest honor in the arts when she was appointed officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 1983 she was honored with an award given at the White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts.For almost three decades, Ramey has reigned as one of the music world’s foremost interpreters of bass and bass-baritone operatic and concert repertoire. With astounding versatility he commands an impressive breadth of repertoire encompassing virtually every musical style from the fioratura of Argante in Handel’s “Rinaldo,” which was the vehicle of his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 1984, to the dramatic proclamations of the title role in Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle,” which he sang in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera televised by PBS. Ramey’s interpretations embrace the bel canto of Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti; the lyric and dramatic roles of Mozart and Verdi; and the heroic roles of the Russian and French repertoire.He has appeared on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Opra de Paris, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, the operas of Munich, Hamburg, Geneva, Florence, Zrich and Amsterdam, among others. In concert, he has performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, La Scala Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the symphonies of Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and San Francisco.Ramey holds the distinction of being the most recorded bass in history. His more than 80 recordings include complete operas, recordings of arias, symphonic works, solo recital programs and popular crossover albums on every major label.Von Stade will begin the concert with arias from “Mignon,” by Thomas, and “The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein,” by Offenbach. She will be followed by Ramey singing arias from “La damnation de Faust,” by Berlioz, “Faust,” by Gunoud, and “Mefistofele,” by Boito. They will continue together with pieces from “Old American Songs,” by Copland.Following intermission the pair will perform selections by Gershwin, Hammerstein, Porter, Sondheim, Lowe, and Berlin.The Von Stade/Ramey concert is presented with the generous support of the Karolyn Coulter Memorial Concert Foundation, established to continue Coulter’s lifelong dedication to excellence in musical performance and instruction. Additional support is provided by L. William Kirby and Morgan Stanley. Partial funding is also provided by the Western States Art Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.Foundation contributors of $50 or more are invited to meet the artists at a reception following the performance. Tax-deductible contributions to the Memorial Foundation may be sent to KCMCF, PO Box 117, Los Alamos, NM, 87544. Support for the reception is provided by Del Norte Credit Union.A master class featuring Von Stade will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 12, for singers who have applied and been accepted. Listeners may attend at no charge, but a ticket is required.Tickets to the master class will be available in the lobby prior to the concert. Since space is limited, please do not take a ticket unless you expect to attend. Please note that only the tickets marked “Von Stade” will be accepted for this performance, due to the expected turnout. Please check your tickets prior to arrival to ensure that you have brought the correct tickets.Individual tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and students who hold a Chamber of Commerce Student Welcome Card may purchase tickets for half price. Children 5-18 may attend at no charge but need a ticket. Children must be at least age 5 to attend the concert, and children younger than age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets may be obtained at CB Fox, Otowi Station Bookstore and Nicholas Potter Bookseller in Santa Fe. For additional information call the Los Alamos Concert Association at 662-9000 or visit the LACA website at www.losalamosconcert.org/.The Lodgers’ Tax Fund, the Community Development Corporation and the New Mexico Bureau of Tourism support LACA.