Lucia Popp’s husband has died, at 85

The Hungarian conductor György Fischer, who was Karajan’s assistant at the Vienna Opera and married the Slovakian soprano Lucia Popp, has died at 85. He was the first cousin of conductors Adam and Ivan Fischer.

He was principal conductor at Cologne Opera for quarter of a century until 1990.

The company has posted an obituary here.

After their divorce, Popp married the English opera chief Peter Jonas. Fischer married the American violinist Ida Bieler.

Adam Fischer writes: ‘He gave me a lot, I learned a lot from him. He gave me artistic and practical advice, all of which were invaluable. I owe most of what I have achieved in my professional career to him. And he was humble, always happy, always helpful to everyone. Envy and frustration, which unfortunately are so common in the world of artists, were completely alien to him. Maybe that was his secret too. He was happy and content in life. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was married to Ida Bieler for over forty years, who used to be concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra. The two were very different in temperament, but they harmonized wonderfully. It was wonderful to see them together! I always felt at home with you straight away.’ 

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    • And his wife violinist Ida Bieler has taught and concertized widely, her name is seen as editor on important editions, and she studied with Ricci, Shumsky, Galimir, Rostal and Milstein. Whew! If you’re fated to be known as the husband of your wife, well, OK, but personally, I’d have picked the other, current, wife.

  • So he was actually Popp’s ex husband. She had an ill-fated affair with Kleiber and I think that’s the reason for the divorce from Fischer.

  • Let’s not forget he was instrumental early on in Cecilia Bartoli’s career, conducting her two Mozart albums and beautifully partnering her at the piano in her epochal arie antiche album, “Se tu m’ami.”

    • Many thanks to “D” for remembering Gyorgy Fischer as Cecilia Bartoli’s superb piano accompanist in their album “Se tu m’ami” with Vivaldi’s stunning aria “Sposa son disprizzata” and its sequence of suspended sevenths taken to perfection, though not forgetting Claudia Muzio’s record of the title song. That identified Gyorgy Fischer for me and is one of Bartoli’s most pleasurable.

  • The title of this article is misleading and disrespectful to his and Ida Bieler’s loved ones. It would be appropriate to indicate the name of Ida Bieler in the title and indicate ex-husband with regards to his marriage to Lucia Popp, if you really feel it necessary to include.

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