Wilma Lipp (born 26 April 1925 in Vienna) is an Austrian operatic soprano, particularly associated with Mozart roles, especially Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.
Wilma Lipp possessed a pure, supple high-soprano voice with an accurate coloratura technique and a so-called "white" tone. Her career, which began in soubrette and high coloratura roles, later progressed to more lyrical ones such as Ilia, Countess Almaviva, Pamina, Eva, Musetta, Martha, Violetta, etc.
She studied in Vienna with Anne Bahr-Mildenburg and Alfred Jerger, and also with Toti dal Monte in Milan. She made her debut in Vienna as Rosina in 1943 and joined the Vienna State Opera in 1945. She won considerable fame as the Queen of the Night, which she sang at La Scala in Milan, as well as in Paris, Hamburg, the Salzburg Festival, Brussels and at the Paris Opéra. This role was followed by those of Mozart's Konstanze, Zerbinetta, Adele, Martha, Olympia, Oscar and Lucia, which she also sang with great success in Naples.
From the middle of the 1950s she changed her repertoire more into the lyrical roles such as Eva, Countess Almaviva, Elvira, Ilia, Marguerite, Nedda, Rosalinde and many more. She made her United States debut as Nanetta at the San Francisco Opera, in 1962. The same year she performed as Pamina with Herbert von Karajan at the re-opening at Theater an der Wien as a festival theatre.
Wilma Lipp still says that her years at this theatre were the "most happy" years of her life, because the acoustic was perfect for her as a young singer. She performed for nearly 40 years on stage, at the Vienna State Opera (including the years 1945-55 at Theater an der Wien), around 1,500 evenings. Her most sung role was the Queen of the Night, with about 400 performances. She has performed on most international opera houses, concert halls and festivals. In June 1981 she gave her farewell as Marianne Leitmetzerin in Vienna and Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan.
From the mid-1970s she taught at the Mozarteum in Vienna. She is now retired and lives with her husband in Bavaria.
Her first recording was the Queen of the Night in 1949. Various recordings are available of her in this role (conducted by Karajan, Böhm, Krips, Furtwängler, Keilberth, Schüchter), as also her Pamina (Karajan, Schüchter), her Konstanze (Krips, von Matacic), Elvira and Ilia. Her Konstanze, Adele and Rosalinde, Laura (Die Bettelstudent), Pepi (Wiener Blut), Franzi (Ein Walzertraum), Briefchristl (Vogelhändler) and her performances in song, the Mozart Requiem, and the Brahms A German Requiem. Her last recording was as Leitmetzerin (Der Rosenkavalier) in 1983.
She was "Adele", the maid in the Eisentein home, in Die Fledermaus.
She is moreover well represented in live recordings and radio broadcasts such as La bohème, Falstaff, Martha, La fille du régiment, Faust, and many masses and oratorios. She has also appeared on TV (Live broadcast of The Magic Flute) and in films such as Unsterblicher Mozart, Dreimäderlhaus, The Cardinal and The Salzburg Festival (Tony Palmer).
Decorations and awards
- 1961 Austrian Decoration for Science and Art
- 1966 Nicolai Medal of the Vienna Philharmonic
- 1977 Honorary Medal of Vienna in gold
- 1982 Honorary Member of the Vienna State Opera
- 2004 Gold Medal for services to the city of Vienna
- London Gramophone recording LLP 305.
- Singing Johann Strauss, YouTube
- The Queen of the Night, YouTube
- Wilma Lipp and Fritz Wunderlich enjoy the prospect of being tortured to death together, in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (YouTube, audio only)
- Grove Music Online, Alan Blyth, May 2008.