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26 April 2021, 12:43
Legendary German opera singer, Christa Ludwig, has died aged 93.
Legendary German mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig has died, aged 93.
She was born into a musical family, growing up in Aachen, western Germany, with her parents – her father, Anton Ludwig, who was a tenor and opera conductor, and her mother, Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, a mezzo-soprano who worked under maestro Herbert von Karajan during her own career.
Christa Ludwig studied voice with her mother, and continued her music education at Aachen Conservatory, where she studied piano, cello, flute and music theory, and at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt, where she honed her vocal training.
Ludwig joined the Vienna State Opera in 1955, and soon became a principal artist at the illustrious company. She would perform there for over thirty years.
The mezzo, who sometimes performed soprano roles as well, is also known for performances at Salzburg Festival, the Royal Opera House in London, the New York Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, and many other famous opera venues around the world.
Roles Ludwig defined in her operatic career include Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal, Leonora in Beethoven’s Fidelio and both Octavian and Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.
As well as being a star of the opera stage, Ludwig will be remembered for her sublime contribution to the lied canon, with her recordings of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler among the finest in the genre.
She will also be remembered for inspiring, and honing the skills of, some of the best up-and-coming opera singers, through masterclasses and mentoring throughout the years.
In 2010, she was awarded France’s Legion of Honour.
Performers and institutions of the classical music world have paid their tributes to the legendary opera star.
Both Vienna State Opera and La Scala have paid tribute, with the former stating, “It was the very special combination of a unique voice and intelligence of interpretation that made her so special.” La Scala took a moment to reflect that the music world has “lost a luminous and inimitable personality”.
British-Italian tenor, Freddie De Tommaso, shared: “I’m very sad to hear of the passing of Christa Ludwig. I had the good fortune to meet and sing for her twice; once in a masterclass at the Salzburg Festival and once as part of her 90th birthday celebration.”
Tributes and memories have poured in from all corners of the music world:
"With the passing of Christa Ludwig, one of the greatest voices of the 20th Century has fallen silent.", said Daniel Froschauer, Chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic. https://t.co/73sb4s6o2d— Vienna Philharmonic (@Vienna_Phil) April 26, 2021
📸: Claudia Prieler pic.twitter.com/HpEQMOPPXP
We remember mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, who made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1965 and returned both in recital and with numerous orchestras. She performed her farewell recital in 1993 and led master classes for young vocalists as recently as 2014: https://t.co/qQuFH9eqV9 pic.twitter.com/OHPtlXNXZf— Carnegie Hall (@carnegiehall) April 25, 2021
Farewell to legendary German mezzo-soprano— Wigmore Hall (@wigmore_hall) April 26, 2021
Christa Ludwig, a much loved Wigmore Hall regular for many decades. She is pictured here at the Opening Concert of the 1978 Wigmore Hall Summer Festival and performed her Farewell recital, at the Hall in 1993. pic.twitter.com/4CQfCSUaR1
(1/2) I'm very sad to hear of the passing of Christa Ludwig. I had the good fortune to meet and sing for her twice; once in a masterclass at the Salzburg Festival and once as part of her 90th birthday celebration. pic.twitter.com/Qynq7AGmeH— Freddie De Tommaso (@FreddieRoccoDT) April 25, 2021
We've very saddened to hear the news that the mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig has passed at the age of 93.— Decca Classics (@deccaclassics) April 25, 2021
She will be remembered as one of the true greats of opera and classical music, and leaves behind an incredible legacy. pic.twitter.com/Cts3sVUEhB
R.I.P. Christa Ludwig. We are very sad to hear the news of the passing of the great German mezzo-soprano at the age of 93. She enjoyed a hugely successful career in the second half of the last century and collaborated with Deutsche Grammophon from 1960 onwards. pic.twitter.com/Wo7GuqXF1i— Deutsche Grammophon (DG) (@DGclassics) April 25, 2021
Sad to learn of the passing of this wonderful woman. The fantastic Christa Ludwig with whom I studied. I travelled many times to her house on the outskirts of Vienna to work with her on roles like Butterfly, Marschallin and Marietta. May she rest in peace pic.twitter.com/rJFqe3gsgZ— Celine Byrne (@CelineSoprano) April 25, 2021
RIP to a legend of opera.