Music: Von Stade: Forget the Magic

There are moments of self-indulgence on the stage, she confesses, when an opera singer wants to begin crying silently to the audience, "Love me. Save me." Such occasions do not occur often, but when they do, it is invariably because the singer is worrying about the effect she is making. "Always looking for the magic traps you," she says. "When you've done your homework and understand every nuance of the characterization and music, it somehow frees you. Ironically, when you forget about putting out magic, it happens."

It happened, for instance, in Santa Fe,...

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