Slippedisc comfort zone (19): Lenny saw her comic side

Slippedisc comfort zone (19): Lenny saw her comic side

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

May 02, 2021

Audiences mostly saw the serious side of the late Christa Ludwig.

Leonard Bernstein saw a comedienne.

I remember this 1989 LSO performance of Candide as if it were yesterday. Christa stole the show.

This may have been where he saw it first.


  • o YES! Incredible!…/in-memoriam-christa-ludwig…/

  • Novagerio says:

    She was a great Comedienne for most of us who still remember her fabulous Miss Quickly in Falstaff.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      I certainly remember Christa Ludwig’s Mistress Quickly in Salzburg in 1982 very well.
      Despite the stellar cast which included Panerai, Taddei, Kabaivanska and Araiza, Ludwig was one of the few successes in a generally disappointing and decidedly non-humorous production.
      Herbert von Karajan never did fun very well.
      A bit like asking Schopenhauer to write an episode of the Three Stooges.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    How wonderful thanks Norman that’s cheered up my day. I somehow missed that at the Barbican.
    Loved the expression of the young soprano transfixed, next to her and felt sorry for the singer having to follow that.

    • E says:

      It is June Anderson, who sings on the Candide recording with Christa Ludwig.
      (At first I thought it was someone else, a
      young mezzo from
      now, which makes no sense at all.)

  • Hilary says:

    What an extraordinary talent, and so versatile. The role is completely inhabited.
    The dancer at the end is pretty hot I should add.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Christa is brilliant, delightful, and funny.
    She could do it all.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    I have yet to discover Christa Ludwig’s weakest links.

  • E says:

    She is a delight! The joyous performance from 1988 makes her so present: “I never spoke any ‘hooman’ language.” Thank you so
    much, NL, for finding this/

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    It is sometimes forgotten that Christa Ludwig’s first role on stage was Orlofsky at the Frankfurt Opera at the age of 18. This very early recording displays not only her extraordinarily developed voice but impeccable diction and natural affinity for comedy.

  • M2N2K says:

    Ever since 1980s, I respected and appreciated CL’s fine artistry, but after seeing and hearing this charming video clip about fifteen years ago I became a passionate fan forever. She was such a pure delight! Her death is a truly huge loss for all of us who treasured her beautiful musical soul.

  • CRMH says:

    Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar! Can there be a worse piece of music ever recorded? Why on earth did the divine Christa Ludwig waste her time with such trash?

    • M2N2K says:

      Probably because she – being “divine” – had a better understanding than you are displaying here that music can be light and entertaining without being trashy, and that LB at his best was a master of precisely such kind of music.