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Christa Ludwig

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  1. 1.
    Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act I: Va là, vecchia pedante (Live) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Irmgard Seefried , Wiener Philharmoniker , Karl Böhm
    1:370:30
  2. 2.
    Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act I: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Live) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Wiener Philharmoniker , Karl Böhm
    3:270:30
  3. 3.
    Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act I: Giovani liete, fiori spargete - Cos'è questa commedia? (Live) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau , Erich Kunz , Irmgard Seefried , Murray Dickie , Vienna State Opera Chorus , Wiener Philharmoniker , Karl Böhm
    4:300:30
  4. 4.
    Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act I: Basilio, in traccia tosto di Figaro volate (Live) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau , Irmgard Seefried , Murray Dickie , Wiener Philharmoniker , Karl Böhm
    0:580:30
  5. 5.
    Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act II: Voi, che sapete che cosa è amor - Bravo! Che bella voce! (Live) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Elisabeth Schwarzkopf , Irmgard Seefried , Wiener Philharmoniker , Karl Böhm
    4:170:30
Christa Ludwig was one of the most admired mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertoire of both lieder and opera.
She brought a fine sense of musicianship as well as drama to her performances. Her roles ranged from Dorabella in Così fan Tutte to Brangane in Tristan und Isolde and Clytemnestra in Elektra, and she was the creator of the role of Claire in Gottfried von Einem's Besuch der alten Dame. Her technique and upper register were solid enough to let her sing the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and the Dyer's Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, parts almost exclusively sung by sopranos -- though she did retreat from plans to sing Isolde and Brunhilde. She was also a noted lieder performer, especially of Mahler.
Her parents (tenor Anton Ludwig, who later became a stage director, and mezzo-soprano Eugenie Ludwig Besalla) were both singers, and her first vocal studies were with her mother, who also taught her piano, flute, and cello. Her first performances were in 1954, at the age of 17, singing operatic arias she had learned from growing up in the theater. She made her operatic debut as Prince Orlofsky in Strauss' Die Fledermaus in 1946, at the Frankfurt State Opera, where she was a member of the company until 1952. She then moved to Darmstadt to study acting with the director Gustav Sellner. After two years, she and her mother (who was still teaching her) moved to Hanover, where she began to sing leading roles such as Carmen, Ortrud, and Kundry. Her Salzburg debut was in 1954 as Cherubino, and followed by her 1955 debut in the same role at the Vienna State Opera, at the invitation of Karl Böhm, where she sang for more than 30 years. In 1957, she sang with Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, who encouraged her husband Walter Legge, the famous producer, to sign Ludwig with EMI records. Ludwig's United States debut was in 1959 in Chicago, as Dorabella. In the 1970s, she went through a vocal crisis due to menopause, and she took some of the most demanding roles out of her repertoire and began to give more attention to songs. Again she challenged the typical views of repertoire, and sang material, such as Winterreise, that is most often associated with male voices, especially baritones. Working with Leonard Bernstein, she developed a special affection for Mahler (whose music Bernstein championed when Mahler was relatively obscure.)
She was married to bass Walter Berry from 1957 until 1971, and their son, Marc Berry, is a popular song composer. She has a wide recorded legacy; among the best of her material is a Das Lied von der Erde under Bernstein (Sony SMK 47589) and a Brangane in Tristan und Isolde, with Vickers as Tristan and Dernesch as Isolde, under von Karajan (EMI CMS7 69319-2).

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