Christa Ludwig is going to be 90

Christa Ludwig is going to be 90


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2018

The mezzo of our lives will turn 90 next Friday.

She is still out there, giving masterclasses, never hesitant to venture a strong opinion.

In a class of her own.

Share your memories below.


  • Sue says:

    Erbarme Dich!! Perfection. Normally I’m not a Klemperer fan but this performance is stunning (notwithstanding the strange-sounding continuo and wide vibrato in the strings). Makes you realize just how much performance practice has changed since 1962. Superb singer.

    Many happy returns of the day, Christa Ludwig.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      To me this “Erbarme Dich”can go straight to the heart – as long as my internal performance practice police does not overstep its responsibilities.

      Klemperer: try
      One of my very favorite recordings. Also very moving for historical reasons: Klemperer was one of the first great German-Jewish conductors to return to Germany after WWII – though I know that some people understandably think differently on this matter.

      When it comes to Klemperer’s Philharmonia recordings, it’s actually the sound of the orchestra that I don’t find as appealing. By contrast, the Bavarian RSO always sounds so irresistibly warm.

  • Richard Craig says:

    She is a wonderful human being and a fantastic voice happy birthday Ms Ludwig

  • Dan P. says:

    Christa Ludwig’s Mahler recordings were my introduction to that composer’s songs as a very young kid back in the 60s and when I hear Mahler sung in my imagination, it’s her voice I still hear. She and Janet Baker have always been my ideal mezzos for any repertoire. What a musician!! And, what a wonderful person, too.

  • James says:

    Charming, jolly interviews with her can be found on you tube, especially
    those with Thomas Voigt, Hans Bunte, August Everding…

  • James says:

    It’s worth watching her fairly recent Carnegie Hall masterclasses on YouTube. I don’t know anything about singing but she is a breath of fresh air and made these a very interesting and enjoyable experience. I’m sure for singers they’re a goldmine of advice and direction.

    Carnegie Hall Vocal Master Class: Mahler’s “Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen”:

    Carnegie Hall Vocal Master Class: Wolf’s “Er ist’s”:

  • Isobel Buchanan says:

    I was lucky enough to sing the soprano solo in the Mahler 2nd symphony with Christa Ludwig in Chicago and at the Carnegie Hall in the early 90s. She was a delightful and charming lady, warm hearted and vocally superb. How honoured I feel to have met and worked with her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTA! And thank you for a lifetime of superlative singing.

  • Terry van Vliet says:

    I remember two wonderful performances when I was 21 at the San Francisco Opera: Rosenkavalier with Ludwig and Schwarzkopf in one week and in the week following again in Nozze di Figaro. The memory of those superb artists together has not diminished 63 years later. What a lucky boy!

    Happy Birthday, dear Christa Ludwig.

  • Adam Stern says:

    Adding my birthday wishes to this incomparable artist.

    In 1968, when I was 13, I heard Ms. Ludwig and Walter Berry in a concert performance of Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” (Los Angeles Philharmonic/Zubin Mehta). It remains one of my most vivid concert memories after all these decades; the total immersion into their roles of both singers, as well as their glorious voices, made the performance a shattering one both musically and dramatically. Bartók’s only opera, then as now, is my favorite work of his, and Ms. Ludwig’s perfect realization of Judith had a lot to do with its attaining that position.

    Happy Birthday, Ms. Ludwig, and thank you for many hours of pure musical pleasure.

  • David says:

    I only ever heard her once, though delighted I did. I was very young but I had a kind of checklist, ticking off the great singers one by one – Schwarzkopf, de los Angeles, Jurinac, Christoff, Gobbi and so on. Ludwig was as Carmen at ROH, mid 1970s and it was a bit Lotte Lenya somehow though the voice was rich and expressive. Not her finest hour when I think of her mighty recorded performances.

  • Melisande says:

    The picture shows two great friends: Christa Ludwig and the soprano Hilde Zadek, who celebrated her 100th birthday in Vienna last December.
    As I had never heard Ludwig live during my life, but only through her recordings, it was an immensely great and emotional occasion to invite her for a Master Class in 2014 on behalf of the International Vocal Concours, held at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
    Her kindness, insight and sometimes even vulnerability as well as her highly professional attitude she shared with the singers are unforgettable.
    Sincere congratulations with your birthday, Ms. Ludwig.

  • Nick2 says:

    The loveliest memory I have is of an intimate recital in 1990 in a tiny 200 seat Pavilion set in a Chinese Garden at the Macao Music Festival. Behind the stage was a full-length window with the tastefully floodlit garden behind. Ms. Ludwig’s performance was glorious as well as moving for the programme included some Bernstein songs in memory of her dear friend who had died only weeks earlier. A memory to last a lifetime. Many happy returns!

  • Walter Winterfeldt says:

    Christa Ludwig is among the greatest of the post WW 2 singers. She sang the first recital I ever heard as a teenager in 1972 at Queens College in New York. I heard many thereafter up to her Carnegie Hall farewell in 1993. I wish her all the best on her milestone birthday. It’s good to see that DG and Warner Classics are issuing tribute sets in her honor.

  • tomas says:

    It makes you wonder how much longer these great artists are going to be there to hand on the torch to the generations that follow and give their wisdom…warts and all…

    Ludwig, Janowitz,

    (now Jurinac, who lived to 90 has gone and Maria Stader who also lived to 88 as well as E S 90…)

  • Miriam says:

    I heard Christa Ludwig sing in the 60s, when I was a student and fell in love with her voice and with lieder. Over the years, I had the good fortune to hear her four more times, including her farewell concert in Paris. I recently discovered the many recordings on Youtube, including a gorgeous DVD of her singing Nietzsche’s “O Mensch” in Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, conducted by Bernstein. Thank you, Christa for all the beauty and joy you have poured into so many hearts. God bless you!

  • Chetana Nagavajara says:

    I heard her for the first time in 1959 in the role of Octavian at the Vienna State Opera, an unforgettable experience, musically and otherwise.