AceShowbiz - Mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig has died, aged 93. Her death at her home in Austria was announced on Sunday, April 25 by officials at the Vienna State Opera.
Born in Berlin, Germany in 1928, Ludwig made her opera debut in Johann Strauss II's "Die Fledermaus" in 1946 at Oper Frankfurt and went on to appear at the Staatstheater Darmstadt and Staatsoper Hannover before her breakthrough in Vienna.
She made her Vienna State Opera debut as Cherubino in Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" in 1955. She first appeared for the Metropolitan Opera in New York four years later.
"Her debut season at the Met in 59/60 was the stuff of legends when she sang Octavian, the Marschallin, Brangane, and Amneris, all within a few months of each other," Met general manager Peter Gelb recalled in an email to Billboard. "Even if most of her career was centred in Europe, she was certainly regarded by Met audiences as one of the greatest mezzos of the second half of the 20th century."
Vienna State opera director Bogdan Roscic, in the meantime, issued a tribute statement as saying, "The words of the Marschallin often quoted by Christa Ludwig - 'With a light heart and light hands, hold and take, hold and let' - which she repeatedly referred to as a personal motto, were actual and true expressions of her way of life."
"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,' " Roscic added. "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."
She suffered a career setback in the 1970s when capillary veins in her throat burst, but returned to the stage and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1981. She was also awarded a knight Legion of Honor medal in France in 1989 and a commander Legion of Honor accolade in 2010.