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Christa Ludwig

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Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the First Day of Christmas : J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 / Part One - For the First Day of Christmas: No. 4: "Bereite dich, Zion" Christa Ludwig, Münchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter 06:02
Schubert: Ave Maria, Op. 52/6, D. 839 Christa Ludwig, Irwin Gage 06:06
Kindertotenlieder : Mahler: Kindertotenlieder - Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n Christa Ludwig, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 06:13
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two : J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two - No. 47: "Erbarme dich, mein Gott" Christa Ludwig, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Johann Sebastian Bach 07:11

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As classical music enjoyed a post-war renaissance, Christa Ludwig - born in Berlin, Germany on March 16, 1928 - became a star mezzo-soprano of the era, known for her passionate, theatrical performances, fluid, immaculate delivery and mastery of Richard Wagner's most challenging roles. Born in Berlin to two opera singers, the family moved to Aachen where her father was a theatre director and her mother was the house mezzo-soprano. Christa Ludwig grew up learning cello, piano and flute and after the war ended she sang Gershwin songs for American soldiers in return for cigarettes. She really started her career performing arias when she was 17, before serving an apprenticeship at the Frankfurt and the Darmstadt Opera. She joined the acclaimed Vienna State Opera in 1955. This was the start of a special bond with the Austrian theatre forged over a 30-year association amid memorable performances of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Wagner's opera Kundry, and Frank Martin's contemporary, Shakespeare-inspired Der Sturm. She also became a popular fixture at the prestigious Salzburg festival and made one of her first significant recordings on the album Der Rosenkavalier in 1957 with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Christa Ludwig traveled to the US for the first time the following year for performances in Chicago and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. A fruitful partnership with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra further built her reputation in the 1960s and she worked extensively with Leonard Bernstein in the 1970s, becoming a star soloist and lieder singer of Schumann, Mahler and Schubert. Her performance as Suzuki in the 1974 movie adaptation of Puccini's Madame Butterfly was another high point and she won numerous awards, including the French Legion of Honour, the Merit Cross in Germany and the Grand Decoration of Honour in Austria. She also played over 80 different roles and graced the world's finest concert venues before embarking on her farewell tour in 1993 and giving her final performance at her beloved Vienna State Opera. Christa Ludwig died on April 24, 2021, at the age of 93.