Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fred Plotkin Examines Christa Ludwig's Golden Career For WQXR

(Photo: Ernst Kainerstorfer/ORF)

"Ludwig was born in Berlin on March 10, 1928 and grew up in Aachen. Her parents were singers and her mother was her first teacher. Her father became a stage director and manager. She grew up in the milieu of music and theater and absorbed it all. When Ludwig was seven, she heard her mother sing in Elektra and Fidelio conducted by a young Herbert von Karajan. Germany soon fell under Nazism and then came the horrors of World War II. When she was 16, her family home was destroyed by bombs. After her nation lost the war, Ludwig sang for American GIs in exchange for cigarettes, which were valuable as currency when money was worthless. Christa Ludwig was able to understand the awfulness of war and allow her emotional development to deepen without being derailed from her goals. She kept learning music, reading literature, thinking about characters. When German opera houses reopened in 1946, they needed good singers and few were in supply. Ludwig, at 18, was talented, attractive, tall and well-prepared. She was in the right place at the right time. She sang Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus in Frankfurt and was on her way, ultimately to Vienna, where she became a beloved star." [Source]

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