Christa Ludwig Memorial Broadcast

Christa Ludwig
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 (All day)
On April 24, German mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig passed away in her home in Klosterneuberg, Austria at the age of 93. Over a prolific five-decade career, Ludwig established herself as one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century and was among the last of the great post-war singers of the classical song repertoire. Among her vast repertoire ranging from contralto depths to dramatic soprano heights, she was a definitive interpreter of the music of Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms, and Richard Wagner and was a frequent collaborator of almost every major conductor of her time. As Leonard Bernstein famously wrote, "I always thought Christa Ludwig was the greatest Brahms singer among her peers, but that was only until I heard her sing Strauss. Then she was the greatest Marschallin until I heard her do Mahler. Again I had to reassign her to another throne. But then I heard her sing Wagner and the same thing happened...She is simply the best."
In light of Ludwig's passing, WKCR will preempt all programming for 24 hours on Tuesday, May 4 solely to her vast discography and will combine her iconic performances alongside lesser-known archival broadcasts. In addition, Saturday Night at the Opera on May 1 is hosted by Stepan Atamian and will feature a live broadcast of her as Verdi's Lady Macbeth from the Wiener Staatsoper. A full schedule for Tuesday will be announced shortly, but highlights to include:
  • Beethoven's Fidelio - Live performance from the Deutsche Oper, Berlin with James King; Walter Berry; Josef Greindl; Lisa Otto; and Arthur Rother.
  • Mozart's Così fan tutte - Live performance from the Wiener Staatsoper with Gundula Janowitz; Olivera Miljakovic; Adolf Dallapozza; Walter Berry; Eberhard Wächter; and Josef Krips.
  • Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten - Live 1966 performance from The Metropolitan Opera with Leonie Rysanek; Irene Dalis; James King; Walter Berry; and Karl Böhm.
  • Schubert's Winterreise
  • Bizet's Carmen (in German) - Rudolf Schock; Melitta Muszely; Hermann Prey; Horst Stein; Deutsche Oper Berlin.
  • Her last American radio interview - In 2014, Christa Ludwig was interviewed by WKCR during one of her final appearances in America. We believe this to be her final interview for American radio and will play it in its entirety.
  • Christa Ludwig in Bach and the Baroque - Highlights from the Matthäus- and Johannes-Passions, as well as excerpts from Handel's Giulio Cesare and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea
  • Christa Ludwig in Wagner - This segment will include archival performances of her legendary performances in Lohengrin, Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, and the numerous roles she undertook in the Ring.
  • Christa Ludwig in Mahler - From 9PM-midnight, we will play solely Ludwig's Mahler recordings, including: Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen; excerpts from Des knaben Wunderhorn; the Rückert-Lieder; and Das Lied von der Erde.