“She is simply the best and the best human being ever,” said Leonard Bernstein of Christa Ludwig, based on the most famous line of his opera Candide.
The song and the opera singer effortlessly combined world fame with a realistic attitude. She had the most beautiful miso-soprano bell of her time, cultured as normal. In 1994, she was called on stage as Klytämnestra with her appearance at number 769 at the Vienna State Opera. One of the greatest opera stars of the twentieth century died in Klosterneuburg at the age of 93.
Christa Ludwig owes the fact that she was born on March 16, 1928 in Berlin and not in Aachen to the will of her mother, who traveled to Berlin with her pregnancy only to obtain the appropriate entry in the birth certificate. She grew up in a singing house and at the age of six was, as she likes to say, “in the bosom of Karagan.” The father, Anton Ludwig, was an opera singer and director, and Mother Eugenie Bisala was Alto and her only singing teacher.
In 1946, at the age of 18, Ludwig made his debut at the Frankfurt Opera as Prince Orlowski in the movie “Fledermaus”. After her engagements in Darmstadt and Hanover, she brought Karl Bohm to the Vienna State Opera in 1955 – and initially predicted that she would sing the cherubino only with him. But the beautiful natural voice evolved, Ludwig grew up from the pants roles and started his international career. She performed 43 opera roles at the Vienna State Opera alone, and acted in about 70 roles during her 50-year career. Her remarkable roles included Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s “Rosenkavalier”, KNDER in Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal”, Leonor in Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fidelio” or Giuseppe Verdi’s Lady Macbeth. Additionally, there was an extensive repertoire of songs in which every nuance was a perfect fit.
“Singing has to be a whiff of love, otherwise it will be boring after five minutes,” said Ludwig in an interview on the occasion of her 90th birthday. She learned an incredible amount from her three most important bands – Boom, Karajan and Bernstein. From Baum’s subtlety, from Karagan’s discipline, but from Bernstein, “the most important thing of all: freedom.”
From 1957 to 1970, Christa Ludwig married singer Walter Perry (1929-2000), with whom she had a son. In 1972 she married French actor and director Paul-Emile Debre (1925-2011).
ORF changes its program in memory of Christa Ludwig. The obituary will be broadcast on “Cultural Monday” (10:30 PM, ORF 2). Later, the photo, created in 2018, can be seen “With a light heart and light hands.” ORF III also dedicates a special ‘Culture of the Day’ to Ludwig Today (7.45 PM). (s)