The elegant Swiss-born soprano has died at 93. [Los Angeles Times]
Photo: Sedge LeBlang/Metropolitan Opera
Deviafan, thanks for this unexpected video!
What an utter treasure this video is. Thank you so much for bringing it to our collective attention.
For me, della Casa was voice that defined her repertoire, and I can’t add much to the accolades and remembrances posted here except to say thank god we have her recorded.
I was just in Switzerland three weeks ago. The train line from Zurich to Bern passes right by Burgdorf, where she was born, and I thought of her as we went along. Cute little place.
Back at the old MET, there was a standee named Ruth who used to tell everyone at the front of the line that she was having an actual love affair with Della Casa.
QPF, I used to stand near the front of the line. Don’t remember Ruth. Poor thing, wishful thinking, I guess. There were all sorts of odd people there every day. I guess I was one of them.
I won’t say her last name, but yes it was wishful thinking. Had it been true Lisa would have gotten her tickets !
Question: Where is the NYT obit for Lisa della Casa?? We have already seen those for Gloria Davey and Vishnevskaya.
Yes, and still no obit in Opera News online.
Lisa Della Casa’s rendition of “Ein schönes war” is pretty much ideal. Such beautiful, touching, and elegant singing.
I’ve always been curious about that recording. Does she really not take a breath after that long long phrase? She goes right to the world “war” without a breath. I’ve never heard anyone else do that.
I re-listened just to hear if she takes a breath. I don’t think she does. It’s a 21-second single breath. I haven’t heard anyone do that either. Jessye Norman does a 19-second breath but takes a breath before “war” (but takes it at a slower tempo).
The times I heard della Casa live in
Vienna and at the Met she did not take
a breath either. Most singers do take
a breath, some disguising it and others
actually gulping. Della Casa was one of
my all time favorite Ariadnes though her
very lowest notes were not as markedly
fine as some other sopranos who had more enviable lower registers.
But few could glisten on the top notes
with the glorious effervescence in the way della Casa could.
Jeritza discussed “Ein Schoenes War”
and that difficult first phrase once
in the famous Ariadne Met Broadcast
together with Lotte Lehmann and Jeritza
mentioned that Richard Strauss insisted
that Jeritza not take a breath at that
point. Jeritza mentioned that the phrase was so long that it went from wherever she may
have been talking (presumably somewhere in the old Met) to…..Brooklyn.
That discussion between Jeritza and Lehmann is one of the best operatic exchanges I’ve ever heard. The way they combine mutual admiration and competitiveness, all in strong mitteleuropaeisch accents, is priceless. It wasn’t on YouTube last time I looked, sadly.
Whoopee! Thank you, soubrettino.
Am I the only one who finds the word “rendition” to be like nails on a chalkboard when used to talk about singers?
“Her rendition of Caro nome…”
“What a wonderful rendition of Nemico della patria!”
I think it’s much more elegant to say “Her ‘Ein schoenes war’ is pretty much ideal.”
Yes, your suggestion is better worded, but “nails on a chalkboard/”? Really?
How about “Extraordinary Rendition”?
It helps that the aria is not being taken at the speed of a dirge to make it more ‘expressive’. And I love the slightly woozy horn. LDC is so much more pleasing and satisfying to listen to than her more frequently recorded and not dissimilar-sounding, but vastly more gekünstelt contemporary …
Who would that be????????????????? lol
Isssch weisssz auch nixssss. Hgar nixsss, Clita.
NYT: Lisa della Casa
Thanks Clita! In addition to those four roles, she also sang Saffi at the Met.
Yes, and also Mimi, Cio-Cio-San, Ariadne, Octavian, Eva and Elsa. The article does not say that she sang only 4 roles, only that 4 roles made up the bulk of her Met assignments.
But in fact she sang more Saffis and Evas than she did Arabellas, so that was strange of the writer to cite that among the 4 main roles. They also got wrong the role of her Vienna debut (Nedda, not Gilda) and the year of her farewell (1973, not 1974). Such are the vagaries…
I see -- thanks! Did she give any song recitals in the States that you happen to know of? The Lieder recordings I have heard of her are all outstanding (Salzburg recital, Strauss songs with piano, both with Arpad Sandor, Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -Leben with Sebastian Peschko).
Didn’t her daughter die a number of years ago? I seem to remember reading an Opera News interview a while back that referred to her daughter’s passing.
There’s an interview with her daughter in the bio which appeared in 2008 and she is also in the TV documentation which was probably made for her 80th birthday.
Lisa della Casa also sang Annina in Rosenkavalier at the beginning of her career, so that makes 4 roles in this opera.
The NY TIMES has not corrected the multiple mistakes in the Della Casa obit. Typical.
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