Frederica von Stade and The Decision to Retire

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This Thursday, the beloved American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade (known as ‘Flicka’) will sing her farewell recital at Carnegie Hall. When I was a young singer, Frederica von Stade was an important role model for many of us--a young, talented, attractive, hometown girl who made it big! Needless to say, her retirement will serve as a major benchmark in my life.

When I saw Flicka here at the station yesterday, she explained that the music in the recital will highlight the story of her life.  Among other things, there will be songs about each of her daughters--and possibly a performance onstage with her eldest who is about to give birth to Flicka’s first grandchild.  Clearly, she has a lot to look forward to beyond her performance career. But, I know the decision to retire is never made lightly and that for many performers--especially singers--the decision can be extremely difficult.   

The role model in my life was my father. He retired from a very demanding job in education at 63 and proceeded to enjoy another 30 years of life. Whether you are currently retired or still planning for the future, I’d love to have your thoughts on the subject. Or, if you would simply like to send Frederica von Stade your good wishes, go for it!  I’ll be sure to let her know!