©2014-2016 Alida Augen
ALIDA AUGEN (nee Alida Margaret Stahl) had the great good fortune to be born to the beautiful concert pianist, Jeanette van Dorsten Stahl (soloist at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Aeolian Hall in New York City), and the sterling trumpet virtuoso, R. Crawford Stahl (twice National Trumpet Champion and the first Rochester Prize Scholar at The Eastman School of Music). She was raised in a joyous, musical household and has sung all of her life. With the luxury of having her mother as her piano teacher and brilliant accompanist and her excellent father as her first violin teacher and the choir director at the church where she sang growing up, Alida has always been making music. It followed that she always sang the soprano solos, got the leading roles in the school musicals and sat concertmistress of all her school orchestras. And it follows that her daughter, Jenna Augen, has been living much the same life in her school career.
Alida’s music education continued at Binghamton University, where she earned her B.A. in music and studied voice with William Lewis of The Metropolitan Opera, Roberta Schlosser (one of her father’s classmates at The Eastman School of Music) and coached with Stevenson Barrett, also of The Eastman School of Music. She continued her voice studies at The Chautauqua Institution with Josephine Antoine (Eastman faculty) and at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia with Dorothy DiScala. Voice studies continued in New York with Bernard Taylor (Juilliard faculty) and the renowned Franco Iglesias. She studied stagecraft in New York with James Lucas and coached in Connecticut with Joan Brainerd Noland.
Alida has performed over 40 leading operatic roles with 30 opera companies throughout New York and New England, singing several of these roles at Lincoln Center: Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme”; Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata”; the title role in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”; and Josephine in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” with The Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall. According to the press: her Mimi “glowed with exquisite tenderness and delicate beauty”; her Violetta’s “effortless soprano generated the real fireworks of the evening” and she “created a dramatic intensity one seldom feels in larger houses with their vast spaces” ; and her Josephine was “performed with an elegant power that would be hard to top”. She appeared as Musetta in “La Boheme” and Norina in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” at Columbia Artists Hall in New York (“Miss Augen, remembered for her glorious and poignant Madama Butterfly, suprises us with the many-faceted capriciousness and vixen-like quality of her Norina. She sang with generous and sweet tone.”). She was the leading ingénue at Light Opera of Manhattan for many performances (most often as Rose Maybud in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddigore”) and was guest soloist on WQXR’s “Listening Room” with host Robert Sherman, after which Raymond Ericson of The New York Times called her Constance in “The Sorcerer” “charming”. She appeared in leading roles with The Syracuse Symphony Opera and as soprano soloist with The Syracuse Symphony and The Binghamton Symphony.
In Connecticut, Miss Augen has toured as Miss Silverpeal in Mozart’s “Impresario” and as Gretel in Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” with Opera New England; has appeared as Mimi in “La Boheme” and Nedda in Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” with The New Britain Opera and Symphony (“Fiery Alida Augen does the vixen Nedda with style and insolence.” and “Alida Augen was a passionate Nedda and a delightfully mischievous Colombine. Her voice was lilting and lucid, especially in the famous Ballatella and “Stridono lassu.”); has sung these and many other leading roles with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Stamford State Opera, Waterbury Opera, Norwalk Opera, Connecticut Opera Alliance and The Danbury Opera and Symphony. She was the leading soprano with Troupers Light Opera in Stamford for ten seasons. Subsequent to her New Britain Opera performances, conductor David Katz wrote the award-winning opera, “The Light of the Eye” or “Das Augenlicht”, which is named for Miss Augen and in which she premiered the role of Laura. She has also premiered two song cycles written for her voice: “Three Romances” by Mr. Katz; and “The Winds of August” by Rebecca Tobin. She was the featured guest on WMNR’s “Evening at the Opera”. Most recently, Miss Augen has appeared as soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” at Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts; as soprano soloist in Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” with The Danbury Symphony; as soloist in Handel’s “Messiah” with The Norwalk Chorale and Orchestra and with The Mastersingers of Stamford, Connecticut; as The Mother in Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (“Alida Augen, splendid as the mother”), a role she played opposite her daughter, Jenna, in the title role (“an outstanding Amahl, Jenna Augen”) for six Christmas seasons; and several more times as “Madama Butterfly”, Mimi, Violetta and Nedda. Alida has been both Visiting Artist in Voice at Newtown High School and the soloist at First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Stamford, Connecticut, for many years. She resides in Redding, Connecticut, with her husband, Dr. Leonard H. Augenlicht, who is Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology at The Albert Einstein Cancer Center in New York, Associate Director of The Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Director of Molecular Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center, and consultant at The National Institutes of Health, The National Cancer Institute and The American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.; and with their daughter, the fabulous actress/singer, Jenna Augen.
"Alida Augen performed the heroine with an elegant power that would be hard to top."
—Hal Eskesen, The Stamford Advocate
"Augen's Princess is superb. She virtually carries every scene she is part of."
—David Paul Smith, The Stamford Advocate
"Clearly, their success largely depended upon the lovely soprano voice and acting ability of Alida Augen. From the moment she first appeared to the final scene, she dominated the stage. Without question, Miss Augen was the strongest member of the cast, musically and dramatically."
—Marion M. White, Greenwich Gazette