By EMMA BARTLETT
Opera singer Claire Stadtmueller describes herself as a farm girl by day and diva by night. Growing up on a farm in New Jersey, Stadtmueller brought her roots to Western Cranston …
By EMMA BARTLETT
Opera singer Claire Stadtmueller describes herself as a farm girl by day and diva by night. Growing up on a farm in New Jersey, Stadtmueller brought her roots to Western Cranston in 2019 where she now grows vegetables and raises bees. On the flip side, you could also find her on stage at Carnegie Hall in an elaborate outfit singing.
Stadtmueller was the designated soloist since third grade and the lead in the school musicals. She said In high school, her choir director was displeased after finding out that for sophomore year she signed up for woodshop instead of chorus.
“He pulled me out of woodshop, put me back in chorus and found me a voice teacher,” said Stadtmueller.
Stadtmueller graduated second in her class and knew she would either go into the academic world or become a musician. After being accepted to two conservatories, she decided to pursue music and attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Since college, she’s studied with a number of teachers in New York and Italy; she credits Dimitri Kavrakos for optimizing her voice.
When looking back on her career so far, one major highlight for Stadtmueller was singing Tosca (by Giacomo Puccini) in Central Park with the New York Grand Opera under Maestro Vincent La Selva. From there, La Selva then invited Stadtmueller to sing the part of Amelia in Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera.
Additionally, making her debut in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Carnegie Hall was a special moment. Stadtmueller said that this piece is trial by fire and, in standard repertoire, known as the most difficult piece for the chorus, orchestra and soloist.
“Beethoven, as magnificent as his music is, he doesn’t know how to write for the voice,” Stadtmueller said, mentioning that the only opera he wrote was Fidaleo.
She said the debut went well and the moment she got off stage, David Randolph of the St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra re-engaged her for the next season for Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Requiem; Stadtmueller went on to perform eight major works with him.
In addition to performing, Stadtmueller has taught at several colleges – William Paterson University, Assumption College and Rhode Island College – after obtaining a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island. As an adjunct, she did not have first pick for classes, but said her students started receiving solos over the other singers who were taught by the colleges’ full time professors.
Some of her favorite opera singers include Rosa Ponselle and Maria Callas – mentioning that Callas’s commitment to drama was so compelling that people would sleep on the New York sidewalks just to get a seat at one of her performances.
Due to the pandemic, Stadtmueller lost access to the stage and decided to approach music in a different way. During this time, she made four recordings including two slideshows and films.
“That's my lemonade out of lemons,” Stadtmueller said.
The first slideshow “Consul” was about governmental tyranny while the next slideshow, “All that Gold” focused on a few billionaires who made incredible surges in wealth during the pandemic while small businesses were shut down.
In Stadtmueller’s most recent film, she sang Ebben! Ne andrò lontana from "La Wally," which is an Italian opera aria where a father banishes a young woman because she won’t marry his choice. Stadtmueller then compared this song to the banishment that artists experienced from the stage because of Covid and not getting vaccinated.
“It’s gratifying when other artists have told me when they see it on YouTube, ‘thank you Claire for saying what I would've liked to have said’,” Stadtmueller said. “And that brings tears to my eyes because we have suffered and for other artists to feel that I spoke for them is very gratifying.”
Her latest film won awards in Prague, Slovakia, Japan, Milan, Rome and Athens. The filming included one recording session for the music followed by two hours at Lawton Farm, two hours in Blithewold Mansion and 20 minutes in front of Carnegie Hall. Stadtmueller said it takes her several weeks of practicing the repertoire to dissect troubled spots and look at how she would like to improve it.
“We don’t sing in the shower. We perform for people. We share our love for music with people,” Stadtmueller said, mentioning that it is artists’ income and livelihood and Covid mandates were like an amputation.
Stadtmueller’s next project is to create a film that makes a statement on the loss of blue skies and nature from pollution while also questioning how long the pollinators and food supply will endure with pollution.
Additionally, in 2023, Stadtmueller is headed to Seattle to sing several arias as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of a charity that feeds homeless people. She is also playing a part in a Soap Opera podcast, teaching voice lessons and doing voiceover work.
To view her slideshows and films, visit www.ClaireAsABellVO.com.