Renowned opera singer Christa Ludwig dies aged 93

Vienna, Austria: Renowned opera singer Christa Ludwig has died at age 93, Austrian media reported Sunday.

The mezzo-soprano who was born in Berlin but lived just outside Vienna died Saturday, Austrian news agency APA said.

As one of the foremost mezzo-sopranos of the second half of the twentieth century, Christa Ludwig poured her lustrous voice into dramatically taut performances of opera roles — particularly those of Mozart, Strauss, and Wagner — and intimately rendered art songs, the New York Times wrote

Ms. Ludwig rose from humble beginnings in a war-torn Germany to the pinnacle of the singing world, helped by the discipline instilled in her by her strong-willed mother — her only true teacher and constant presence in her career.

Ludwig, who retired in 1994, was awarded France's Legion of Honour in 2010 for her career that spanned almost half a decade.

The singer entered Vienna's State Opera in 1955 and performed at the esteemed Salzburg Festival under Austrian orchestra conductor Karl Boehm.

Ludwig also toured internationally, taking the stage at Milan's Scala, London's Royal Opera House, and New York's Metropolitan Opera, among others.

After the first marriage to Austrian bass-baritone Walter Berry, in 1972 she married French comedian and director Paul-Emile Deiber, who died in 2011.

Ms. Ludwig performed as Dorabella in Mozart's "Cos Fan Tutte," Cherubino in Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro," Octavian in Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier," Carmen in Bizet's "Carmen," and other Wagner roles.

She was dubbed "the greatest mezzo-soprano of all time" by some critics.

Speaking about her performance, the NY Times said Ms. Ludwig, like many other mezzos, aspired to higher-voiced — and higher-profile — soprano roles.

As a result, she played the Marschallin in "Der Rosenkavalier," Dyer's Wife in "Die Frau Ohne Schatten," and Leonore in Beethoven's "Fidelio" with great success.

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