The great soprano who quit to care for her daughter

The great soprano who quit to care for her daughter


norman lebrecht

February 03, 2019

It is a hundred years ago this weekend since the birth of Lisa Della Casa.

Although she died only seven years ago, the person and the voice seem to belong to a very different world of singing.

Swiss, serene and possessed of an immaculate beauty of tone and countenance, she commanded the major roles of Mozart and Richard Strauss and was immaculate in Mahler’s fourth symphony.

In 1974, at the age of 55, Della Casa retired from the stage to care for her daughter, 24, who had undergone surgery from an aneurysm and suffered complications. She gave no farewell performances. no masterclasses, no interviews. She was as exemplary in her retirement as she was in her life as an artist.

Remember her.


  • Caravaggio says:

    No need for reminders as she is not forgotten.

  • Novagerio says:

    Being a long-life fan of Lisa Della Casa, I’m very happy to read this eulogy. It’s undertone is grace.

    • pianoronald says:

      I was lucky to live in Vienna in the fifties and sixties, so I was able to hear Lisa della Casa very often. She was not only an excellent singer but also the most beautiful soprano on stage at the time.

  • Paul says:

    Well, I’m always happen when someone mentions a friend on the friend’s birthday, even though I’ve not forgotten the friend. Nice to share the joy the friend’s name brings and the memories.

  • Herman the German says:

    She was a wonderful singer. She was a Special guest as Arabella in late March 1973 at Hanover State Opera. Her Mandryka then was Rudolf Constantin from the Frankfurt Opera. I still treasure their autographs.

  • Martain Smith says:

    One can hope (but undoubtedly in vain) that today’s line-up of so-called divas listen to an artist of this stature, and attempt to take even a paragraph – if not a page – from her book!

    She was wonderful, but only one individual example among a class of singers… Seefried, Jurinac, Amerling, and so many others – right through to Ludwig, Nilsson and Callas, etc., who unfailingly and honestly committed to their art at the highest level during the time that was theirs (however long or short) – and will thus remain immortal as long as sound and video documents prevail.

    How many of our current line-ups will stake a claim beyond a generation!

    But then, who today wants last year’s cell phone?