I haven’t posted in a while because I have moved across the country, and this blog was not high on my priority list.  We have rented a house, and we will be buying a house at the end of the month, so I am not sure when I will post again.  We are going to hear Maria Stader today.  She was a very talented soprano who was known for Mozart and Bach.  When you listen to her, listen for these things:  the resonance of the voice; that is, the air and tone pass through the vocal chords without being held in the throat; she sings in tune (most singers today cannot do this); she interprets beautifully, and sings with great legato; the words are understandable.  She is really just a wonderful singer.

Mozart, Ridente la calma

Ridente la calma nell’alma si desti,
Ne resti un segno di sdegno i’ timor.
Tu vieni frattanto a stringer, mio bene,
Le dolci catene si grate al mio cor.

Calmness is smiling in my soul,
no trace of anger or fear remains.
You will arrive at any moment, my dear,
to tie the bonds of marriage that are so welcome to my heart.

Schubert, Die Forelle

In einem Bächlein helle,
Da schoss in froher Eil’
Die launische Forelle
Vorueber wie ein Pfeil.
Ich stand an dem Gestade
Und sah in süsser Ruh’
Des muntern Fishleins Bade
Im klaren Bächlein zu.

Ein Fischer mit der Rute
Wohl an dem Ufer stand,
Und sah’s mit kaltem Blute
Wie sich das Fischlein wand.
So lang dem Wasser helle
So dacht’ ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle
Mit seiner Angel nicht.

Doch endlich ward dem Diebe
Die Zeit zu lang.
Er macht das Bächlein tückisch trübe,
Und eh’ ich es gedacht
So zuckte seine Rute
Das Fischlein zappelt dran,
Und ich mit regem Blute
Sah die Betrog’ne an.

In a clear little brook,
There darted, about in happy haste,
The moody trout
Dashing everywhere like an arrow.
I stood on the bank
And watched, in sweet peace,
The fish’s bath
In the clear little brook.

A fisherman with his gear
Came to stand on the bank
And watched with cold blood
As the little fish weaved here and there.
But as long as the water remains clear,
I thought, no worry,
He’ll never catch the trout
With his hook.

But finally, for the thief,
Time seemed to pass too slowly.
He made the little brook murky,
And before I thought it could be,
So his line twitched.
There thrashed the fish,
And I, with raging blood,
Gazed on the betrayed one.

Mendelssohn, Es weiß un rät es docher keiner

Es weiß und rät es doch Keiner
Wie mir so wohl ist, so wohl!
Ach, wüßt’ es nur Einer, nur Einer,
Kein Mensch es sonst wissen soll!

So still ist’s nicht draußen im Schnee,
So stumm und verschwiegen sind
Die Sterne nicht in der Höh’,
Als meine Gedanken sind.

Ich wünscht’, es wäre schon Morgen,
Da fliegen zwei Lerchen auf,
Die überfliegen einander,
Mein Herz folgt ihrem Lauf.

Ich wünscht’, ich wär’ ein Vöglein
Und zöge über das Meer,
Wohl über das Meer and weiter,
Bis daß ich im Himmel wär’!

No one knows and no one can guess
How happy I am, how happy!
If only, just one person knew,
No one else ever should!

The snow outside is not so silent,
are so silent and secretive
the stars on high
as are my own thoughts

I wish that morning were already here,
Two larks fly into the sky,
Skimming over one another,
My heart follows their flight.

I wish that I were a little bird
And could fly across the sea,
Across the sea and further,
Until I came to Heaven!

Wolf, Zitronenfalter im April

Grausame Frühlingssonne,
Du weckst mich vor der Zeit,
Dem nur im Maienwonne
Die zarte Kost gedeiht!
Ist nicht ein liebes Mädchen hier,
Das auf der Rosenlippe mir
Ein Tröpfchen Honig beut,
So muss ich jämmerlich vergehn
Und wird der Mai mich nimmer sehn
In meinem gelben Kleid.

Merciless spring sun,
You wake me before my time,
For only in blissful May
Can my delicate food grow!
If there’s no dear girl here
To offer me a drop of honey
From her rosy lips,
Then I must perish miserably
And May shall never see me
In my yellow dress.

J.S. Bach, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen

Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Was der Himmel und die Welt
An Geschöpfen in sich hält,
Müssen dessen Ruhm erhöhen,
Und wir wollen unserm Gott
Gleichfalls itzt ein Opfer bringen,
Daß er uns in Kreuz und Not
Allezeit hat beigestanden.

Praise God in every land!
Whatever creatures are contained
by heaven and earth
must raise up this praise,
and now we shall likewise
bring an offering to our God,
since He has stood with us
at all times during suffering and necessity.

Schubert, Der Hirt auf dem Felsen

I don’t think that there is anyone alive today who can sing this Lied.

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh’,
In’s tiefe Tal hernieder seh’,
Und singe,

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal
Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall
Der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wieder klingt
Von unten.

Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
Drum sehn’ ich mich so heiß nach ihr
Hinüber.

In tiefem Gram verzehr ich mich,
Mir ist die Freude hin,
Auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
Ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
So sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
Die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
Mit wunderbarer Macht.

Der Frühling will kommen,
Der Frühling, meine Freud’,
Nun mach’ ich mich fertig
Zum Wandern bereit.

When I stand on the highest rock,
Look down into the deep valley
And sing,

From far away in the deep dark valley
The echo from the ravines
Rises up.

The further my voice carries,
The clearer it echoes back to me
From below.

My sweetheart lives so far from me,
Therefore, I long so to be with her
Over there.

Deep grief consumes me,
My joy has fled,
All earthly hope has vanished,
I am so lonely here.

The song rang out so longingly through the wood,
Rang out so longingly through the night,
That is draws hearts to heaven
With wondrous power.

Spring is coming,
Spring, my joy,
I shall now make ready
to wander.

Maria Stader

Maria Stader (November 5, 1911 – April 27, 1999) was a Hungarian-born, Swiss lyric soprano, known particularly for her Mozart interpretations.

Stader was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, on November 5, 1911, as Maria Molnár. During and after World War I, the price of food in Budapest was so high that it was difficult for her parents to support their five children. Maria and her younger sister, Elisabeth, were taken to Switzerland by The Salvation Army to recuperate for three months after being diagnosed with malnutrition. There, Maria’s foster parents requested she stay for a full nine months. However, once in Budapest again, Maria fell seriously ill and it was also determined she would need her tonsils operated on. Her foster parents arranged for her to return to Switzerland. Because of difficulties with the immigration office, Maria could not remain in the canton of Zürich, so her foster father found her a place with the Stader family in Romanshorn, where there is also the commemorative Maria-Stader path. They later adopted her.

In 1939, Stader married Hans Erismann, the music director of Weinfelden and later the choir director of the Zürich Opera House. Through the husband of her vocal teacher, Mathilde Bärlocher, she met Stefi Geyer and her husband. Geyer herself was born in Budapest and had moved to Zürich in 1920; she then became an ongoing supporter of Stader’s career. Another native of Budapest, Ilona Durigo, became her vocal teacher in 1935 in Zürich and introduced her to Hermann and Lily Reiff (a student of Franz Liszt). The Reiffs’ home was the frequent meeting place of Adolf Busch and his brother Hermann, Thomas Mann and the entire ensemble of the Zürich Opera and Zürich Theater. Fritz Busch arranged for Stader to go to the Schnabel School in Tremezzo, run by the wife of Artur Schnabel, a few years later. From 1938 on, Stader received training from Giannina Arangi-Lombardi in Milan.
Stader was a close friend of the Swiss politician Walther Bringolf, as well as of numerous musicians – especially pianist Clara Haskil and the Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay (with whom she became acquainted through Rolf Liebermann). She was also a friend of the French film director, Emil-Edwin Reinert and she corresponded with Albert Schweitzer.

Stader first achieved fame for her interpretations of Mozart and her collaborations with conductor Ferenc Fricsay on works such as Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, The Abduction from the Seraglio, two versions (1954 and 1960) of ‘Exsultate, jubilate’ and the Great Mass, as well as Verdi’s Messa da Requiem. She won, the Geneva International Music Competition in 1939, but although she “seemed poised for major stardom… her career was delayed by the outbreak of World War II,” according to Opera News. Later in her career, Stader acquired a reputation as an outstanding Bach interpreter, especially with Karl Richter and Ferenc Fricsay. She recorded the Requiem by Antonín Dvořák with Karel Ančerl, and Beethoven’s opera Fidelio (as Marzelline) with Hans Knappertsbusch.

Her concert tours had taken her around the world. Besides Europe and America, she sang in Japan, South Africa, and South America. Stader sang in various festivals, including the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival, at the Prades Festival and at the Aspen Music Festival. She sang under the leadership of many well-known conductors including Eugen Jochum, Josef Krips, Eugene Ormandy, George Szell, Carl Schuricht, Rafael Kubelík, Bruno Walter, Hermann Scherchen, Otto Klemperer, Ernest Ansermetand Dean Dixon. Until 1951, she taught at the Zürich Conservatory (merged in 1999 into the School of Music, Drama, and Dance (HMT), itself merged in 2007 into the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)) and later held master classes there.
She died in Zürich on April 27, 1999.