Mezzo-Soprano Christa Ludwig has Died, Age 93

The famed German mezzo-soprano passed away at her home in Austria


Ludwig was known for her excellent interpretations of Wagner, Mozart, and Strauss. She has given 119 performances in 15 roles at the Met in New York, and 769 performances in 42 roles in Vienna.

Born in Berlin to a musical family, Ludwig's breakthrough was in 1955, where she debuted with the Vienna State Opera as Cherubino in Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro." She had a firm grasp on a wide range of repertoire, from works of 16th-century composer Claudio Monteverdi to works by 20th-century composer Alan Berg.

In the 1970s, Ludwig was faced with a burst of capillary veins in her throat, temporarily hindering her career. She overcame this difficult time, describing it as "an experience necessary for my art."

At the end of her long career, Ludwig revealed the three important conductors that helped shape her as a musician, including Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein.

“The words of the Marschallin often quoted by Christa Ludwig — 'With a light heart and light hands, hold and take, hold and let’ — were actual and true expressions of her way of life,” said Bogdan Roscic, Director of the Vienna State Opera, who announced her death last weekend.

“She took art as seriously as one can take it seriously, subordinated her life to it, but at her own request, she said goodbye to the stage 'with a light hand.' Later she was able to talk about her decades almost without melancholy, always with a pinch of irony, self-knowledge, but also without false modesty.”

Our condolences are with Ms. Ludwig's family, friends, students, and colleagues.