Personalities | Christa Ludwig | Modern Era | Opera

b. 1924, German

An outstanding mezzo-soprano recitalist and concert singer, Ludwig was the daughter of two singers: tenor Anton Ludwig, and contralto Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, who sang under Herbert von Karajan. Forced into early retirement, Eugenie became her daughter’s voice coach. Making her debut at 18 as Prince Orlovsky in Frankfurt, Ludwig remained there until 1952, before joining the Vienna Staatsoper three years later.

From 1959 to 1990 she sang at the Met, where her roles included the Dyer’s Wife (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Didon (Les Troyens), Ortrud (Lohengrin), Kundry (Parsifal), Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) and Fricka (Das Rheingold). She also sang Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) and Kundry at Bayreuth. Her musicality made her a favourite of a number of conductors, and Ludwig formed her greatest collaborations with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.

Introduction | Modern Era | Opera
Personalities | Thomas Mann | Modern Era | Opera
Houses & Companies | The Birth of the Metropolitan Opera | Turn of the Century | Opera


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