Christa Ludwig, the eminent German mezzo-soprano, has died at 93.
Ludwig, the daughter of musical-theater figures, began her career in post-World War II Germany, singing for US occupation troops and in small recital venues. She made her operatic debut at 18, singing the role of Orlovsky in Johann Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus” at the Frankfurt Opera in 1946. After working in several German opera houses, she was hired in 1955 to perform at the Vienna State Opera.
She went on to perform mezzo and some soprano roles with many of the world’s leading companies; for decades she was a favorite singer at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She also was a celebrated interpreter of art-song and oratorio, and made many recordings that became reference versions of works by Schubert, Wagner, Mahler and Richard Strauss.
Her final stage performance was as Klytemnestra in a 1994 Vienna State Opera production of Strauss’ “Elektra.”
An obituary by The New York Times’ Daniel J. Wakin: