Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

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maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:38 am

😢

R. I. P.

I will miss her artistry greatly.

One of the highlights of my concert-going years was to see her at the MET in 1990 as Sieglinde in the complete Ring cycle given in that year.

Among her many recordings in my library, her Mahler with Herbert von Karajan pictured above and her Das Lied von der Erde with Bernstein on DVD from Israel are standouts.

Among her many operatic roles, Christa Ludwig recorded her esteemed portrayal of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly twice with Herbert von Karajan and Mirella Freni, both in film and on record. She recorded Octavian FIVE times.
Last edited by maestrob on Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by jserraglio » Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:07 pm

I was at this recital.

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maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:12 pm

What a privilege, Joe.

I didn't know she had recorded for Vox.

barney
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by barney » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:14 pm

She appears in my catalogue more than 50 times, including the 12-CD Christa Ludwig Collection. Magnificent singer. Thanks for all you gave us, Christa.

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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:58 pm

Christa Ludwig has been a key "player" on my shelves since the days of LPs. She is well represented in all areas of music in which she participated. For those who might want to augment their collections, there are two boxed sets from her major labels, DGG and EMI that provide excellent cross-sections:

DGG 479 8707 - 12 CD set commemorating her 90th birthday
EMI/Warner 56902 - 11 CD set with her "recitals" represented [this may
_____have been reissued with another catalogue number now]

Then there are recordings from Sony Classical primarily with conductor/pianist Leonard Bernstein; some discs on British Decca; and two for RCA Victor in the way of Farewell to Salzburg, and Tribute to Vienna, both with pianist Charles Spencer.

A wonderful artist who gave of herself on stage and to her young colleagues almost to the time of her passing.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jserraglio
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:59 am

I lifted the link to this streaming excerpt from another board.

A powerful 'So ist es denn aus mit den ewigen Göttern' excerpt from Die Walküre as recorded from the stalls on tape, in Bologna spring 1988 with Robert Hale (W) and Riccardo Chailly conducting https://mega.nz/file/ocgWyRYT#7mbsr9-Kd ... MdrrrCJPw

lennygoran
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by lennygoran » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:54 am

Here's the NYTimes article. Regards, Len



Christa Ludwig, Mezzo-Soprano of Velvety Hues, Is Dead at 93

She was a beloved interpreter of Strauss, Mozart and Wagner roles, but equally admired for her rendition of art songs.

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By Daniel J. Wakin
April 25, 2021

Christa Ludwig, who poured a lustrous voice into dramatically taut performances of opera roles — especially those of Mozart, Strauss and Wagner — and intimately rendered art songs as one of the premier mezzo-sopranos of the second half of the 20th century, died on Saturday at her home in Klosterneuburg, Austria. She was 93.

Her death was confirmed by her son, Wolfgang Berry.

Ms. Ludwig commanded a broad range of the great mezzo-soprano parts, including Dorabella in Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte,” Cherubino in his “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Octavian in Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier,” Bizet’s Carmen and numerous Wagner roles. Often, critics were reduced to calling her the greatest mezzo-soprano of her time.

But like many mezzos, Ms. Ludwig strove to lay claim to higher-voiced — and higher-profile — soprano roles. So she took on, most successfully in that category, characters including the Marschallin in “Der Rosenkavalier,” the Dyer’s Wife in “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” and Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”

She was an equal master of the intimate song — especially the works of Brahms, Mahler and Schubert. Her artistry put her in the pantheon of postwar lieder singers that included Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elly Ameling and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Ms. Ludwig made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cherubino (a trouser role, a type she said was not her favorite) in 1959, took on Octavian and Amneris in Verdi’s “Aida” at the house that year as well and sang regularly at the Met until the end of her career.


She was associated for decades with the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, and worked especially closely with the conductors Karl Böhm, Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan.

Ms. Ludwig rose from straitened origins in a shattered wartime Germany to the height of the singing world, aided by a sense of discipline instilled by her strong-willed mother — her only real teacher and a constant presence throughout her career.

She also displayed traits of the pampered diva, with a preference for elegant gowns and opulent hotel suites (partly inspired by the hardships of her youth), fanatical attention to any hint of illness and the state of her vocal cords, and reverential fans who followed her from house to house. On performance days, she would communicate with whistles or by writing on a pad.

But onstage, Ms. Ludwig brought a striking combination of acting ability, charisma and vocal beauty. Her voice had range and power, a security through all the registers and a broad array of colors.

“Her unmistakable, deep-purple timbre envelops the listener in a velvet cloak,” Roger Pines wrote in Opera News in 2018, reviewing her collected recordings. “She excelled equally in intimate, legato-oriented lieder and the largest-scale operatic repertoire, where her sound expanded with glorious brilliance.”

Critics often took note of her wit and comic deftness, and a personality that could fill a hall even when she sang softly.

“Her presence on the Met stage was a synthesis of the dramatic arts all by itself — her voice, her wonderfully natural diction and her shadings of facial expression and gesture all conspiring to express with great emotional breadth the singular message of this singular music,” The New York Times critic Bernard Holland wrote of a “Winterreise” performance in 1983. Ms. Ludwig sang that searing Schubert song cycle some 72 times, even though it was composed for a male voice.


Ms. Ludwig was born on March 16, 1928, in Berlin. Her parents lived in Aachen in western Germany, but her mother, Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, wanted the child to be born in her family home in the capital.

In Aachen, Christa’s Viennese father, Anton Ludwig, a former tenor who had sung with Enrico Caruso at the old Met, was the opera house stage director and manager; her mother sang in the company, and performed several roles under an up-and-coming conductor named Herbert von Karajan. Christa saw those performances and many others. “I practically lived in the theater,” she said in her 1993 memoir, later published in English under the title “In My Own Words.”

Her mother gave her singing lessons as a girl and remained her lifelong coach, going to her rehearsals and performances and living most of her life with Ms. Ludwig. “I really owe everything to her,” she said. But Ms. Ludwig also described her mother as an inflexible and sometimes suffocating presence who dominated her life before she felt able to cut ties only at age 60.

During the war, a half brother was killed on the Eastern front. Food was rationed and Christa was sent to work on a farm. The family’s home and belongings in Giessen, where Mr. Ludwig had become director of the municipal theater, were destroyed in an Allied bombing raid, leaving them homeless. With the arrival of American troops, Ms. Ludwig recounted in her memoir, she and her parents were assigned an abandoned apartment with a piano that had been used as a toilet.

Christa’s mother gave voice lessons. “Studying singing was a wonderful way to forget the wretched way we lived, the ruins, the still-smoldering coal cellars, and the stink of ashes,” Ms. Ludwig wrote.

The young singer soon found work singing popular tunes at the American officers club, wearing a dress she had made from a Nazi flag. She was paid in cigarettes and stole whatever food she could. Once her father, who had been a member of the Nazi party, was denazified, he was given back his job and organized variety shows around town in which his daughter was featured.

Ms. Ludwig received her first major contract in 1946, at the Frankfurt Opera, and made her stage debut as Prince Orlofsky in “Die Fledermaus.” Her mother, recently divorced from her father, moved in with her in the city in an unheated room, and they began daily lessons.

Along with her opera work, she sang many concerts of contemporary music amid a wave of creative freedom unleashed by the fall of the Reich. “I was cheap,” she told The Guardian in 2004. “I learned things easily and I had a good voice.” It was a shrewd move: Critics got to know her before she became famous.


Stints in the opera houses of Darmstadt and Hanover followed, until she was summoned to audition for Mr. Böhm, the director of the Vienna State Opera. He took her on in 1955, and she quickly became a mainstay.

Engagements at the world’s major opera houses followed.

She met the bass-baritone Walter Berry at the Vienna opera in 1957 when they were cast in “Le Nozze di Figaro.” They married three months later and had a son, Wolfgang, who survives her, along with a grandson and a stepson, Philippe Deiber.

The couple frequently appeared together in operas and joint recitals. In interviews, Ms. Ludwig said they felt occasional rivalry and were at odds in preparing for performances (she needed quiet, he less so; he liked small hotel rooms and she liked large suites).

The couple divorced in 1970, though they continued to perform together. (Mr. Berry died in 2000.)

Soon after her divorce, Ms. Ludwig met the actor and stage director Paul-Emile Deiber while he was preparing a production of Massenet’s “Werther” at the Met, and they married in 1972. He died in 2011.

Ms. Ludwig came of age at the dawn of the postwar golden era of recordings, and her LP legacy is vast, from a 1961 “Norma” with Maria Callas to a 1962 “St. Matthew Passion” conducted by Otto Klemperer, to two complete and classic Wagner “Ring” cycles. She appears on five “Rosenkavalier” recordings, including a beloved rendition with Ms. Schwarzkopf, conducted by Mr. von Karajan.

In the realm of song, critics took note of her sensitivity, smooth lines, intimacy, control and mastery of the text. “She is perhaps the reigning feminine expert at making us feel good about lonely teardrops and thwarted bliss,” The Times critic Donal Henahan wrote in 1979.

Despite the care that she took with her voice, Ms. Ludwig suffered damage to her vocal cords in the early 1970s that forced her to cancel numerous performances, and even parts of whole seasons. She recovered but cut back on opera appearances. She gave a series of farewell performances in the 1993-1994 season before retiring.

A few years after her vocal crisis, Ms. Ludwig made clear the pragmatic view she had about a singer’s voice.

“It’s like a raw egg,” she once said. “Once it’s kaputt, it’s kaputt.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/25/arts ... -dead.html

maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:38 am

“It’s like a raw egg,” she once said. “Once it’s kaputt, it’s kaputt.”
What a great one-liner! :wink:

lennygoran
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by lennygoran » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:51 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:38 am
What a great one-liner! 😉
Brian talk about one-we only saw her once live and thought she was very good.

Metropolitan Opera House
December 1, 1984


ELEKTRA {62}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Elektra.................Ute Vinzing
Chrysothemis............Johanna Meier
Klytämnestra............Christa Ludwig
Orest...................Simon Estes
Aegisth.................Richard Cassilly
Overseer................Loretta Di Franco
Serving Woman...........Gail Robinson
Serving Woman...........Karen Bureau
Serving Woman...........Ariel Bybee
Serving Woman...........Jean Kraft
Serving Woman...........Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Confidant...............Constance Webber
Trainbearer.............Constance Green
Young Servant...........Charles Anthony
Old Servant.............William Fleck
Guardian................Richard Vernon

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Herbert Graf
Stage Director..........Paul Mills
Designer................Rudolf Heinrich
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler

Recently a friend was telling me about a work I had never really gotten into-Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde

Fortunately youtube had a live recording of it and I really enjoyed Ludwig-no captions but I used my tablet to follow along with what was being sung-I liked what I heard and saw very much although Bernstein was as usual going wild! [grin]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG1dqYfudpI

Gustav Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde in A minor – C major
Leonard Bernstein
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Mezzo-soprano - Christa Ludwig
Tenor - Rene Kollo

Regards, Len

jserraglio
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:12 am

Again, these links are borrowed from another board.

Last summer, Radio France/francemusique ran a five-part program on Christa Ludwig as part of their Grands interprètes series. Even if your French is under par, the musical offerings give you a chance to sample the breadth of her repertoire (128 kbps):

Hommage à Christa Ludwig
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... 2020-85801
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... 2020-85880
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -3-5-85820
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -4-5-85900
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -5-5-85832

maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:13 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:12 am
Again, these links are borrowed from another board.

Last summer, Radio France/francemusique ran a five-part program on Christa Ludwig as part of their Grands interprètes series. Even if your French is under par, the musical offerings give you a chance to sample the breadth of her repertoire (128 kbps):

Hommage à Christa Ludwig
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... 2020-85801
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... 2020-85880
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -3-5-85820
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -4-5-85900
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... -5-5-85832
I appreciate those links very much, Joe, as my French is good enough to understand the announcers. I will be investigating them all in the coming days. A real treasure-trove!

Len;

I've had that Das Lied von der Erde in my library with Bernstein/Israel Philharmonic ever since it was first issued, and it's among my favorite versions, along with Bruno Walter's with Haefliger and Mildred Miller.

jserraglio
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:56 am

maestrob wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:13 am
I appreciate those links very much, Joe, as my French is good enough to understand the announcers. I will be investigating them all in the coming days. A real treasure-trove.
I am into programme 2 and they are so far fabulous. Her Marschallin with Bernstein and Bach's Ich barne dich are to die for.

BTW, I also admire her DLvdE with Klemperer and Wunderlich.

I fell in love with Mahler to her Kindertotenlieder with Vandernoot & the Philharmonia.

maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:04 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:56 am
maestrob wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:13 am
I appreciate those links very much, Joe, as my French is good enough to understand the announcers. I will be investigating them all in the coming days. A real treasure-trove.
I am into programme 2 and they are so far fabulous. Her Marshallin with Bernstein and Bach's Ich barne dich are to die for.

BTW, I also admire her DLvdE with Klemperer and Wunderlich.
Funny you should mention that Klemperer recording. Comparing Klemperer's conducting to Bruno Walter's of the same era, I rejected Klemperer's mess as totally unacceptable even as a young man. I simply cannot tolerate his lack of control. The singing is fine, but the conducting agitates me so much that I can't listen to it, even today. Klemperer's Mahler "Resurrection" has the same effect on me.

No accounting for taste, is there?

jserraglio
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:10 am

I am what George Szell termed a 'non musical beast' so I wouldn't have noticed. Szell didn't like OK's conducting either.

lennygoran
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by lennygoran » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:22 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:56 am
I fell in love with Mahler to her Kindertotenlieder with Vandernoot & the Philharmonia.
Joseph I'll have to look for this-another Mahler work I'm not familiar with. Meantime a friend sent me this obit on her from the London Times:

Christa Ludwig sometimes found singing hard work. Even before opening her mouth she had to deal with claques, clothes and colleagues. The latter could offer barbed compliments, such as Lotte Lehmann who in 1929 had sung the Marschallin in Strauss’s opera Der Rosenkavalier at the Salzburg Festival. They met at a reception after Ludwig’s opening night in that role at Salzburg 40 years later. “I liked you so very much,” gushed Lehmann. “I congratulate you sincerely on your performance — in the Missa Solemnis.”

At least dying on stage could be fun. “How does one fall differently if one is stabbed from the back or from the front?” she mused. There was less levity during rehearsals for Bizet’s Carmen at Covent Garden in 1976 when Jon Vickers, her Don José, flew into such a dramatic rage that he drew blood as he stabbed her, even though the knife was a stage prop. “I still bear the scar,” she wrote in In My Own Voice (1999), her pleasingly gossipy memoir.

Ludwig, whose roles ranged from Mozart to Wagner and Strauss, had one of the most lustrous and creamy voices of the postwar operatic world. She considered the durability of her instrument a matter of great importance, rarely taking risks with it. On performance days she was known to communicate only by whistling or through written notes. “Sometimes I feel like the bad wolf in Little Red Riding Hood who ate chalk to have a high voice like the grandmother,” she told The Times. “The secret is to have a quiet soul. If you climb a mountain and look down, you’re likely to have vertigo.” Or as she put it on another occasion. “[A singer’s voice] is like a raw egg. Once it’s kaput, it’s kaput.”

Such caution brought her a performing career that lasted for almost half a century, from the ruins of postwar Germany to long associations with the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Along the way she worked with conductors such as Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein who, like James Levine, she persuaded to leave the orchestral pit and accompany her in velvet-hued recitals.

There were also some career lows, which she discussed with candour. One was a Salzburg Festival in the early 1970s. “I was in the middle of a divorce and the menopause and had capillaries bursting on my vocal cords,” she recalled. “Everything happened together. I sang the high notes badly, left the city and fell into a depression.” She insisted that the menopause should be talked about by singers. “The subject is taboo, because a woman would be admitting that she is getting old,” she wrote, adding that in her case, “my vocal cords were often swollen and felt as if they were made of glass”.

Although Ludwig’s career at the Met started in 1959 as Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and ended with Fricka in Wagner’s Die Walküre in 1993, she was less fortunate at the Royal Opera in London. After a last-minute appearance in 1968 standing in for Grace Bumbry as Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, she returned somewhat miscast in the title role of Carmen in 1976. Thereafter British audiences, who had first heard her in lieder at the Wigmore Hall in 1957, had to largely be content with enjoying her in recital.

These were peerless events, including in November 1989 a magical account of Schubert’s Winterreise, a work previously regarded as almost the exclusive property of male singers, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Ludwig recalled turning for advice to Hans Hotter, one of the work’s best known interpreters, who told her: “If any woman can sing this music, you can.” She sang it again at the Wigmore Hall in October 1993 with Charles Spencer, her long-serving accompanist.
Her other appearances on these shores included an occasional Verdi Requiem and a costumed yet unstaged performance of Strauss’s Elektra at the Festival Hall conducted by Seiji Ozawa in May 1989. Her final farewell was in Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic and Levine in February 1994 when, according to a Times critic, she “was as warm a presence and a voice as ever”.

Christa Ludwig was born into an operatic family at her maternal grandparents’ home in Berlin in 1928. She was the daughter of Anton Ludwig, a Viennese tenor who had sung with Enrico Caruso at the Met and became general director of the opera company at Aachen. “I was at rehearsals when my father managed a production, I was backstage during the scene changes, and I constantly attended performances,” she wrote.

Her mother Eugenie (née Besalla) was a young mezzo-soprano who had fallen for a married man: “Later as an adult, when I accused my mother of having destroyed a marriage, she would remind me that I wouldn’t have been born if things had gone differently.” Eugenie, who had sung for the young Karajan, ruined her voice with unsuitable parts and became her daughter’s first singing teacher. Young Christa also studied piano, cello and flute, although an infatuation with her school chemistry teacher led her briefly to consider studying the subject.

During the war she worked on a farm, cleaning potatoes in a damp cellar. Like most young German women she was a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel, taking part in parades “where we were forced to stand for hours with our right arms raised in the Hitler salute”. The family lost everything when their home in the small town of Giessen was bombed. There was more misfortune when Rudi, a half-brother from her father’s first marriage, was killed on the eastern front. Another half-brother, Heinz, became a set designer, and a half-sister, Annemarie, was a singer.

The family were rehoused in an abandoned apartment with a piano that soldiers had used as a lavatory, while Ludwig found work singing popular songs for American officers. Her fee was paid in cigarettes, the only reliable currency, and she fashioned her dress from an old Nazi flag. “Naturally I pinched everything in the former casino where I sang that wasn’t nailed down — candles, matches, paper napkins, anything I could lay my hands on,” she said.

Her career proper began in 1946 at Frankfurt Opera, where she sang from the wings in the third act of Tosca. Her onstage debut was in the trouser role of Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, but she disliked these parts, not least because they required her to wear a rubber Busenquetsche, or bosom crusher. Meanwhile, her denazified father had again run off with a young singer leaving Christa and her mother impoverished, though they acquired a grand piano in which a family of mice promptly made their nest among the strings. Her mother was determined to stop her daughter repeating her own vocal mistakes, but she was also dominating and Ludwig was 60 before she felt able to cut their professional ties.

Her first few years showed little progress in terms of prominence, but that enabled the young singer to develop her stagecraft, including learning the importance of concentration from the director Harro Dicks at Darmstadt. “He taught me to forget everything that was going on around me, as if I were in a trance,” she wrote.

Things started to improve when she sang at the 1954 Salzburg Festival, to which she returned annually for almost 40 years. The following year Böhm invited her to sing Cherubino at Vienna State Opera, which offered her a contract. The city became home and she quickly gained experience in countless roles. “I was simply tossed into the great sea of the Vienna State Opera and expected to swim,” she recalled. “Fortunately, in such must-swim situations, I usually manage to stay afloat.”

Her fiancé, a German gynaecologist, was less fortunate. He did not settle in Austria and they broke their engagement. In 1957 she was again singing Cherubino when her Figaro was Walter Berry, an Austrian bass-baritone. They married three months later, delaying her Met debut for a year to appear there together. This professional partnership brought an electric recording of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and a sizzling account of Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten in which Ludwig sang an incandescent dyer’s wife opposite Berry’s sympathetic Barak, and they continued to work together after their marriage ended in 1970. “When Walter and I divorced I lost a husband, but I gained a very good friend,” she said.

Soon she met Paul-Emile Deiber, a French actor and director, who was staging Massenet’s Werther at the Met. They were married in 1972 and she did her best to learn his language, although it “did not come easily to me”. Deiber died in 2011 and she is survived by Wolfgang, the son of her first marriage, who became a pop singer.

Well into her sixties Ludwig was still triumphing on stage with what she called “my operatic old ladies — in [Tchaikovsky’s] Queen of Spades and [Poulenc’s] The Carmelites for Vienna — and in [Bernstein’s] Candide”. She retired in 1994 when she felt that she could no longer compete with herself. “I noticed that some of the sounds were not as they were,” she said, pouring scorn on those who she felt continued too long, such as Plácido Domingo. “What’s the point of that? Or does he have nothing but the music? I find it sad when one cannot get away from work.”

Yet Ludwig also found that getting away from work was not easy. As retirement beckoned she tried sewing and cooking, but often felt uninspired. “After I tortured my family and friends with my knitted gifts, I gave up and found another hobby — rug knotting,” she wrote. “They looked nice, until my mother’s cat chose one of the largest ones to make herself immortal on.” Eventually she settled on doing for fun the one thing she did well, singing.

Ludwig had little patience with her colleagues and claimed to admire few of them. There were exceptions, such as Jon Vickers, who made her weep on stage when he sang Gott, welch Dunkel hier from Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Maria Callas, of whom she said: “Her voice was the tragedy of her life.” Others were mere irritants, like the tenor Fritz Wunderlich, a practical joker: “We were singing some Mass, and he had squashed some orange peel between his teeth like children at school.”

She had been appointed Kammersängerin in Vienna in 1962 and later honorary member of the State Opera, an honour that she noted brought privileges. “When I die I can be laid out in the foyer of the State Opera and I get a beautiful grave in the Zentralfriedhof, the main cemetery in Vienna where Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Hugo Wolf are buried, free of charge.” Speaking on the eve of her 89th birthday, she announced her choice of funeral music: “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I am lost to the world) from Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder . . . please sung by me. But I do not know yet which recording.”

Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano, was born on March 16, 1928. She died on April 24, 2021, aged 93

maestrob
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Re: Christa Ludwig (16 March 1928-24 April 2021)

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:56 am

“Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I am lost to the world) from Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder . . . please sung by me. But I do not know yet which recording.”
I know which one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJNaKMgvXRA

It should be noted that Ludwig had a perfect voice, with superb high notes that soared to a high Db. This enabled her to excel at works by Handel and even Verdi's Lady MacBeth at one point in her career.

Truly a great singer worthy of much acclaim now and throughout her career.

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