Music of St. Peter’s Olive Fremstad Brought to Stage

Posted on October 20th, 2004 by

On Saturday, October 30, Nicollet native Naomi Karstad will bring to life the music of a Metropolitan Opera Soprano whose career began in St. Peter one hundred years ago. With pianist Jocelyn Dueck, Ms. Karstad brings Olive Fremstad back to St. Peter.

“An Evening With A Great Diva,” the “rags-to-riches” story of the life of Olive Fremstad, is one that has long fascinated singer Naomi Karstad. “Her name sounded like mine, she grew up in a small town, her father was a preacher, and she became an opera singer. Nothing could be more romantic to me than that! It was my dream to be like her. She inspired me.”

Olive Fremstad, born in Sweden in 1871 and adopted by the Fremstad family in St. Peter, considered St. Peter her home throughout her life. She started singing in St. Peter and then moved to Minneapolis to further her career. After working and studying in Berlin, Ms. Fremstad returned to the US and presented her debut performance at the Metropolitan Opera in November, 1903.

Her success was immediate and she quickly became one of the most acclaimed Wagnerian dramatic sopranos of her day. Even in the “Golden Age of Opera,” she was dubbed “Olive the Immortal” by her friends and critics.

Naomi Karstad, an accomplished recitalist in her own right, will perform excerpts from the opera performances for which Fremstad is best known, CARMEN, TOSCA, and TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, as well as some of her favorite non-operatic songs. Ms. Karstad will present these classic Fremstad selections presented in costume from the operatic roles.

Saturday’s recital begins at 7:30 p.m. in Jussi Bjorling Recital Hall on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus. This performance by Naomi Karstad is free and open to the public.


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