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Classical 101

Lisa Della Casa Dies At 93

The Vienna State Opera announced this morning the death of soprano Lisa Della Casa. She was 93. Della Casa was one of the most beautiful women to sing opera. Her career coincided with television entering the mainstream. Lucky posterity.  She gave her first performances in her native Switzerland in 1944, and her last, in Vienna 30 years later. In the States she sang at the Metropolitan from 1953 to 1967, totaling 175 performances mostly in Mozart and Strauss. Della Casa' signature role was Richard Strauss's Arabella. This echt-Vienese sad-comedy holds the stage best with a gorgeous woman in the title role. Della Casa effortlessly spun out Strauss's golden vocal lines, and she looked like a million pfennigs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGeCjq3uYX0 Della Casa, I believe is the last link to composer Richard Strauss, who adored her and whose works adored her voice. Strauss wrote his Four Last Songs for Kirsten Flagstad, but it was Della Casa's 1954 recording that put this glorious set on the map. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruwJNJmsppA Beauty, spark, personality and musicianship. I'm glad such an artist lived into  a happy old age. I'm glad posterity can enjoy her films and recordings. Envoi.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.