Obituary: Mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, 93

Posted on: April 27, 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,” writes Daniel Wakin in Sunday’s (4/25) New York Times. “She was 93…. Ms. Ludwig commanded a broad range of the great mezzo-soprano parts…. [In] soprano roles … she took on … the Marschallin in ‘Der Rosenkavalier,’ the Dyer’s Wife in ‘Die Frau Ohne Schatten’ and Leonore in Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio,’ among others….. Ms. Ludwig made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1959 as Cherubino … and sang regularly at the Met until the end of her career…. 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…. Despite the care that she took with her voice, Ms. Ludwig suffered damage to her vocal cords in the early 1970s…. She [retired following] the 1993-1994 season…. 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.’ ”