On a July morning, in the beautiful Klimt-inspired Jugdenstil breakfast room of the Hotel Wiesler in Graz, Austria, I sat with Kammersängerin Christa Ludwig, one of the most notable vocal artists of the last half of the 20th century. Ludwig’s long and celebrated career encompassed both mezzo-soprano and dramatic soprano roles, as well as concert and Lieder performances, all of which are richly documented in her extensive discography.
The night before our interview, the 85-year-old singer gave a three-hour masterclass—without a break!—for the students of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS). With a melodious and colorful speaking voice and an infectious smile, she exuded a joyous youthfulness that amazed and enchanted all in attendance. Some of the memorable pearls of wisdom she imparted included the following:
“You have to paint the picture, not sing it.”
“You have to explain the words with your voice.”
“It’s always legato, legato, legato . . . but w...
To continue reading this article, you need to login and be a current subscriber.