Christa Ludwig (born 16 March 1928) is a retired German dramatic mezzo-soprano, distinguished for her performances of opera, Lieder, oratorio, and other major religious works like masses and passions, and solos contained in symphonic literature. HerCAREER spanned from the late 1940s until the early 1990s. She is widely recognised as one of the most significant and distinguished singers of the 20th century.
Ludwig was born in Berlin to a musical family; her father, Anton Ludwig, was a tenor and an operatic administrator, her mother, the mezzo-soprano Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig who sang at the Aachen Opera during Herbert von Karajan's period as conductor. Ludwig's first voice teacher was her mother.
From 1957 to 1970, Ludwig was married to the bass-baritone Walter Berry; the couple performed together frequently, notably in Die Frau ohne Schatten. In 1972, she married the French theater actor Paul-Emile Deiber.
In 1993–1994, Ludwig gave a series of farewell recitals in many cities and made her farewell appearance at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, as Fricka inDie Walküre.
Ludwig's final live operatic performance was Klytemnestra in Elektra for the Vienna State Opera in 1994.
The same year, Ludwig published a memoir with Peter Csobádi. Two English translations of the book are available.
Ludwig has been teaching Master Classes since her retirement.
In times where personalities are thinly sown, we have first class, yes excellent, musical practitioners, who lack intuition, imagination, and a feeling for composers, who, even though they lived in the past, can speak to us about today. Courage is needed to reveal one's own feelings in interpretation and not tell the audience with raised forefinger: "The composer wanted it like this, and no other way." But at the same time we singers must never forget that we are only the servants of the great minds who created all the wonderful pieces of music we enjoy today. - In My Own Voice (p.119) translated by Regina Domeraski