V0365. CHRISTA LUDWIG, w.Charles Spencer (Pf.): Songs by Schumann, Brahms, Mahler & Strauss. RCA 61547, recorded 1993, w.Brochure w.notes & texts. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 090266154722
“When Christa Ludwig celebrated her 80th birthday on 16 March 2008 she could look back on an uncommonly long and successful career as opera singer as well as recitalist. She was born in Berlin and both her parents were opera singers. It was her mother, mezzo-soprano Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, who was her first voice teacher. She was only eighteen when she made her operatic debut in Frankfurt in 1946, singing Orlovsky in DIE FLEDERMAUS. After stints in Darmstadt and Hannover she arrived at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1955 and there she remained for more than thirty years. She appeared frequently at other houses as well: Chicago, the Met, Covent Garden and for many seasons at the Salzburg Festival and also in Bayreuth. She withdrew in 1994 and her last public performance as opera singer was as Klytemnestra in ELEKTRA at the Staatsoper. When her voice matured she took on heavier roles and also sang some soprano parts: die Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER and Leonore in FIDELIO, to mention two, which she also recorded in complete studio recordings under Bernstein and Klemperer respectively. Admirers of her art should know that there are copious opportunities to hear her in complete operas: 130 recordings – live or studio – are listed in her discography, spanning from a 1948 broadcast of IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA from Hessischen Rundfunk, where she sings Berta, to Colin Davis’ Philips recording in Dresden 1992 of HÄNSEL UND GRETEL.
Who was the greatest mezzo-soprano during the post-war years? I think it is impossible to give an unequivocal answer but Christa Ludwig is definitely in the final tournament and this box is a worthy tribute to her art during the first third of her career. It should be snapped up by all lovers of great singing. Christa Ludwig is again the noblest singer imaginable.”
- Göran Forsling, musicweb-international