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Lucia Popp (November 12, 1939 November 16, 1993) was a noted 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 Operamarker, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Gardenmarker, and La Scalamarker. Popp was also a highly-regarded recitalist and lieder singer.

Life and career

Lucia Popp was born as Lucia Poppová, in Záhorská Vesmarker ( , ; then in Czechoslovakiamarker and now in Slovakiamarker). She had Slovak, Hungarian, Moravian, and Romanian origins. Popp initially entered the Bratislavamarker 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 was as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute in Bratislava, a role she revived in a 1963 production directed by Otto Klemperer. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan invited her to join the Vienna State Operamarker, where she debuted as Barbarina in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Popp had strong ties to the Vienna State Operamarker throughout her career, and in 1979 was named an Austrian "Kammersängerin". She made her Covent Gardenmarker 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).

During the 1970s, Popp turned from coloratura roles to lyric ones. Then, in the 1980s, she added heavier roles to her repertoire, such as Eva in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. 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 Contessa 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; Annchen and Agathe in Weber's Der Freischütz; and Sophie and the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.

Twice married, Popp died of brain cancer in 1993 in Munichmarker, Germanymarker, at the age of 54. She was buried in Cintorín Slávičie údolie, Bratislavamarker.


She 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:
  1. Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro (as Susanna), with Te Kanawa, von Stade, Allen, Ramey, Moll, and Solti (Decca)
  2. Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro (as Countess Almaviva), with Jose Van Dam, Hendricks, Raimondi, Baltsa, and Marriner (Philips)
  3. Mozart: Don Giovanni (as Zerlina), with Weikl, Sass, M. Price, T. Krause, Solti (Decca)
  4. Mozart: The Magic Flute (as Queen of the Night), with Janowitz, Berry, Gedda, Frick, and Klemperer (EMI)
  5. Mozart: The Magic Flute (as Pamina), with Jerusalem, Brendel, Zednik, Gruberova and Haitink (EMI)
  6. Mozart: Idomeneo (as Ilia), with Pavarotti, Baltsa, Nucci, Gruberova, and Pritchard (Decca)
  7. Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (as Blonde, EMI)
  8. Mozart: La clemenza di Tito (as Vitellia for Harnoncourt, Teldec; and Servilia for Kertész (Decca) and Davis (Philips)
  9. Mozart: Il sogno di Scipione (as Costanza), with Gruberova, Schreier, Mathis and Hager (Decca)
  10. Orff: Carmina Burana with Unger, Wolansky, Noble, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (EMI)
  11. R. Strauss: Intermezzo (as Christine), with Dallapozza, Fischer-Dieskau, Finke and Sawallisch (EMI)
  12. R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (as Sophie), with Domingo, Ludwig, G. Jones, Berry and Bernstein (Sony)
  13. R. Strauss: Daphne (as Daphne), with Goldberg, Schreier, Wenkel, Moll and Haitink (EMI)
  14. J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus (as Adele), with Varady, Weikl, Kollo, Prey and C. Kleiber (DG)
  15. J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus (as Rosalinde), with Lind, Baltsa, Seiffert, Brendel, Rydl and Domingo (EMI)
  16. Beethoven: Fidelio (as Marzelline), with Janowitz, Kollo, Sotin, Fischer-Dieskau, Jungwirth and Berstein (DG)
  17. Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel (as Gretel), with Schlemm, Fassbaender, Gruberová, Hamari, Burrowes, Berry and Solti (Decca)
  18. Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel (as the Dew Fairy), with Moffo, Donath, Ludwig, Fischer-Dieskau, Berthold, Augér and Eichhorn (RCA)
  19. Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (as Euridice), with Lipovsek, Kaufmann and Hager (RCA)
  20. Verdi: Rigoletto (as Gilda, RCA)
  21. Leoncavallo: La bohème (as Mimi, Orfeo)
  22. Puccini: Suor Angelica (as Angelica, RCA)
  23. Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore (as Adina, RCA)
  24. Flotow: Martha (title role, EMI)
  25. Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen (as the Vixen), with Randova, Jedlicka, Blachut and Mackerras (Decca)
  26. Janáček: Jenůfa (Decca, Karolka)
  27. Lehár: Der Graf von Luxemburg (EMI).

She also sang Lieder. Hyperion's Schubert Edition contains an album from her (Volume 17), one of her last recordings. She recorded R. Strauss's Four Last Songs twice (with Tennstedt for EMI, and Tilson Thomas for Sony, this was also her last recording), Mahler's "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" twice (with Weikl, Tennstedt for EMI, and Schmidt, Bernstein for DG). EMI also reissued two of her albums as part of the company's 'Red Line' series (Slavonic Arias, and Operetta Arias). Orfeo also has issued several of Popp's live recordings.

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