Lucia Popp

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Lucia Popp as Blonde in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Lucia Popp (born Lucia Poppová; 12 November 1939 – 16 November 1993) was a Slovak operatic soprano. She began her career as a soubrette soprano, and later moved into the light-lyric and lyric coloratura soprano repertoire and then the lighter Richard Strauss and Wagner operas. Her career included performances at Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala [1]. Popp was also a highly regarded recitalist and lieder singer.

Life and career[edit]

Lucia Popp was born Lucia Poppová in Záhorská Ves in the Slovak State (later Czechoslovakia; present-day Slovakia). Her mother was a soprano, with whom the young Lucia often sang duets at home. Her father, an engineer, was at one time a cultural attaché to the British embassy [2]

Popp initially entered the Bratislava Academy to study drama. While she began her vocal lessons during this period as a mezzo-soprano, her voice developed a high upper register to the degree that her professional debut at age 23 was as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute in Bratislava[3], a role she revived in a 1963 recording conducted by Otto Klemperer. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan invited her to join the Vienna State Opera, where she debuted as Barbarina in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Popp had strong ties to the Vienna State Opera throughout her career, and in 1979 was named an Austrian Kammersängerin. She made her Covent Garden debut in 1966 as Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, and her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1967 as the Queen of the Night (production designed by Marc Chagall).[3][4]

As she reached her 30s in the 1970s, Popp turned from coloratura roles to lyric ones. By the 1980s when she was in her 40s and her voice matured further, she added more substantial roles such as Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozzi di Figaro, the title role in Strauss's Arabella, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.[3] As a result of this vocal progression, Popp sang various roles in the same opera at different stages in her career, including Zdenka and Arabella in Richard Strauss's Arabella; Susanna and the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro; Queen of the Night and Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute; Zerlina, Donna Elvira, and later Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni; Adele and Rosalinde in Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus; Ännchen and Agathe in Weber's Der Freischütz; and Sophie and the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.[5]

She played "Tereza" in the 1963 Slovak film Jánošík (sk) about the Slovak highwayman Juraj Jánošík.[6]

Personal life and death[edit]

Her first husband was Hungarian pianist and conductor György Fischer.[7]

Popp died of brain cancer in 1993 in Munich, Germany, at the age of 54.[8] She was buried in Cintorín Slávičie údolie, Bratislava. Her second husband, noted German tenor, Peter Seiffert, survived her. In March 2007, on BBC Music magazine's list of the "20 All-time Best Sopranos" based on a poll of 21 British music critics and BBC presenters, Popp placed seventh.[9] A wooden bust of her by Juraj Čutek was unveiled in the Vienna State Opera in June 2017.[10]

Recordings[edit]

Popp, 1986

Popp rarely recorded roles she did not perform on stage (with a few exceptions, including Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser and the title role in Richard Strauss's Daphne) The following is a selection of her recordings:

Video[edit]

She can be seen in the role of Pamina in a performance of The Magic Flute, recorded live at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 1983, and published by Philips, catalogue number 070 505-3. Also, in Smetana's The Bartered Bride as Marie (the female lead). Recorded in 1982 in Vienna, published by Deutsche Grammophon Catalogue number 00440 073 4360, and in Die Fledermaus as Rosalinda (TDK). Also in Orff's Carmina Burana as the female lead in the Court of Love. Recorded in 1975, published by BMG Ariola catalogue number 74321 85285 9. She can also be seen as Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio with Gundula Janowitz conducted by Leonard Bernstein.[11]

She was Sophie in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier DG 00440 073 4072 Carlos Kleiber conductor, Bayerisches Staatsorchester; Otto Schenk director, recorded 1979. There is a recording of Lucia Popp soloing in Strauss' Four Last Songs with Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony. In 1993 she was the soprano soloist in Antonín Dvořák's Requiem with the Prague Symphony Orchestra conducted by Petr Altrichter on Arthaus music DVD 102145.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lucia Popp (Soprano) - Short Biography". www.bach-cantatas.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018. 
  2. ^ "Queen of Hearts". www.operanews.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c 1951-, Libbey, Theodore, (2006). The NPR listener's encyclopedia of classical music. National Public Radio (U.S.). New York: Workman Pub. ISBN 0761120726. OCLC 61704844. 
  4. ^ Inc., Inmagic,. "BiblioTech PRO V3.2a". archives.metoperafamily.org. Retrieved 2018-08-16. 
  5. ^ "Lucia Popp- Bio, Albums, Pictures – Naxos Classical Music". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2018-08-16. 
  6. ^ Jánošík (1963) on IMDb
  7. ^ "Peter Fisher's work lives on". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Obituary by Elizabeth Forbes, The Independent, 18 November 1993.
  9. ^ "The 20 Greatest Sopranos of all time". classical-music.com. 28 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "Slovak opera diva gets a bust in Vienna". The Slovak Spectator. 19 June 2017. 
  11. ^ "Catalogue - Deutsche Grammophon". www.deutschegrammophon.com. Retrieved 2018-08-16. 

External links[edit]