Christa Ludwig at 89: I would never be a singer again

Christa Ludwig at 89: I would never be a singer again


norman lebrecht

March 13, 2017

The magnificent mezzo shares some thoughts on her 89th birthday:

‘When Jon Vickers sang … I began to weep on the stage’

‘There is no such thing as the best: if you say today that Anna Netrebko, who has lots of promotion, is the best opera star in the world, this is not true.’

‘Maria Callas did not have a beautiful voice, but what she made of it, the interpretation – unbelievable!’

‘Ich würde nie wieder Sängerin werden.’

‘At my funeral I want Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt Abhanden gekommen. Sung by me, of course. But I’m not sure which recording.’

Many more happy birthdays, Christa Ludwig!

Read more here.

The excellent interview is by Christian Berzins in the NZZ am Sonntag.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    Hear Hear. Happy B’day to the great Ludwig.

    • Nancy Wilken says:

      Happy Birthday too (your Master Classes even though not a singer, taught me much about how to “live”
      your life, how one presents themselves to any audience (no water bottles allowed! Whether standing
      away from the piano could be likened to standing away from public speaking podium I have utilized
      though public speaking still scary!) Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, I wish too to be sung at
      my memorial funeral. Your performance with Maestro Muti my favorite!

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Of course there is no such thing as “the best” singer, but many were “the best” at a certain point in time, and with a certain work. Christa Ludwig achieved “the best” many times and in many roles, and sometimes she toke risks and excelled her natural possibilities (a mezzo singing Isolde!).

  • Mario Denis says:

    Happy Day Mam an lots of love from a Canadian fan.

  • Bruce says:

    Hilarious when she says “Placido Domingo cannot stop. Soon he will be singing Sarastro.”

  • Hilary says:

    The English translation flows quite nicely for the most part. I liked hearing her harsh opinion of opera.

    • S Lubin says:

      Where is the English translation?

      • Hilary says:

        How curious…I opened the interview yesterday on my mobile phone and a message popped up which gave the option of a translate into English(cleverly recognising that the language is German).
        Today, this same message doesn’t appear when I attempt the same move on an iPad. The modern world is quite baffling.

        • MWnyc says:

          Do I take it your phone is an Android phone? The offer to translate comes from Google Translate and is built into Android phones and the Chrome browser on PCs. (Both are Google products.) I presume that the browser on your iPad is Safari, which wouldn’t offer automatically the option to run Google Translate; you’d have to go to and paste in the URL of the interview manually.

  • Marc t'Kint says:

    Conducted by Klemperer, of course. Her unbelievably heavenly multi-layered dark voice in pristine condition, almost seemingly unconsiously expressing the wonderful world of Rückert and Mahler to perfection. By the way, don’t hurry, Christa…