Lucia Popp

Dove sono i bei momenti

Dvorák; "Dobrú noc" - <V Národním tónu>

Dobrú noc, má milá, dobrú noc,
nech ti je Pán Boh sám na pomoc.
Dobrú noc, dobre spi,
nech sa ti snívajú, nech sa ti snívajú milé sny!

updated: Jan 16, 2005

Popplone, renewed and update build Lucia Popp site/page.

brief contents


(b Uhorská Ves, Czechoslovakia 12 Nov 1939; d München, 16 Nov 1993).

It was 1964. Listening to the audition of the Königin der Nacht, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf had exclaimed in amazement; "What a Fantastic Creature you are!". A young, unknown but powerful Slovakian soprano caused a pretty sensation. Her name is Lucia Popp (Lucia Poppova, Lucie Poppovej).

note by anonymous from
Jugentstil-Lieder, BMG 09026-60950-2, 1992
Lucia Popp was born in Uhorská Ves, in Czechoslovakia. After completing her studies at the Academy if Music in Blatislava, she made her debut at the Opera in Blatislava as the Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan invited her to join the Vienna Staatsoper where she now holds a permanent position, and in January 1979 she received the title of "Kammersängerin" in Vienna. It was also om 1963 that she was engaged at the Salzburg Festival for the first time. She appeared at Covent Garden in 1966, where she has since performed regularly; she sang the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the first time in 1967, in Marc Chagall's production of Die Zauberflöte. The audience at La Scala in Milan discovered her in 1976 in the role of "Sophie" in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Carlos Kleiber. In 1983 she received the title of "Bayerische Kammersängerin" from the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and for the first time performed the title role in Arabella under the baton of Wolfgang Sawallisch. She created a sensation in her first appearance as the "Marschallin" in Der Rosenkavalier in 1985, and then had a triumphant success in the role of the "Countess" in Caoriccio in Salzburg in 1987. Lucia Popp has workd with such famous conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, Charles Mackerras, Rafael Kubelik, Bernard Haitink and Georg Solti. Many of her recordings have received international awards. The Vienna Philharmonic awarded her the "Silver Rose", an honour of which she is particularly proud. The lied occupies a special place in her repertoire. The soprano has given recitals in America, Australia, Israel, South Africa, Great Britain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. After a London Schubert recital the "Daily Telegraph" remarked: "... with her natural charm, she imbued the songs, which were mainly unfamiliar, with a degree of perfection that had only been realised until now by the great performers of the past".

note by Ingo Dorfmüller (translated by Roger Clément) from
Great Moments of ... Lucia Popp, EMI 7243 5 65770 2 2, 1995

It was back in 1964 that Otto Klemperer made his famous complete recording of the Die Zauberflöte. Singin the Königin der Nacht was a young, little-known Slovakian soprano from Blatislava. She had made such an impression at an audition the Elisabeth Schwalzkoph exclaimed in amazement: "What a fantastic creature you are!" Her words were proven true over and over again by Lucia Popp in a career that lasted more than thirty years.

At first, Lucia Popp wanted to become an actress. Soon, however, her musical talent was discovered and she enrolled in the class of the voice teacher Anna Prosenc-Hruskova. Then, in 1963, she auditioned at the Vienna State Opera, where she was hired on the spot. She made her debut there shortly thereafter as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She caused a minor sensation the following year as Königin der Nacht, which led to an audition for Walter Legge and Elisabeth Schwalzkopf - and to the contract for the aforementioned Die Zauberflöte under Klemperer. In 1966, she sang the page Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera in London, then Gilda (Rigoletto), Despina (Così fan tutte), Ännchen (Der Freischütz) and Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier). This choice of roles clearly reflects her shift from coloratura parts to lyrical roles, a change which she completed around 1970. By this time, she had already withdrawn from the international opera jet set and joined the ensemble of the Cologne Opera. There she developed her voice at her own pace, accoding to her own judgement, and without the pressure of the "market". She become known for working through her parts with extreme thoroughness, a method which suited her personality and which she retained later, after she had long become a celebrity on all of the world's major stages. Indeed, Lucia Popp always commanded a remarkably broad repertoire and was always extremely well prepared for every role. She succeeded where many fail: in not only preserving the high standard of her vocal technique for more than thirty years, but also in retaining the unmistakable timbre of her voice intact through all her changes of voice category. The dazzling coloratura soprano metamorphosed into a lyrical soprano of exquisite brilliance, but without detriment to the suppleness and lightness of the upper ranges. She become one of the main pillars of the famous Cologne Mozart cycle which Jean-Pierre Ponnelle produced in the 1970s. She interpreted Blondchen (Die Entführung aus dem Serail),, Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), Ilia (Idomeneo). She was an incomparable Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) and in the Die Zauberflöte she was no longer the Königin der Nacht, but an incredibly touching Pamina. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she turned to the weightier lyrical parts: Susanna gave way to the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Ännchen to Agathe (Der Freischütz) and Arabella to Zdenka. Later, she expanded the scope of her roles to the outer limits of the dramatic range: Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Vitellia (Le Cremenza di Tito), Richard Strauss' Daphne and Christine in Intermezzo, as well as Marie in the Prodaná Nevesta, Eva in Die Meistersinger and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser. Lucia Popp was unquestionably at the height of her art when she passed away so prematurely in 1994. Her legacy is preserved on many recordings from which we have selected a few typical and some lesser known examples.

The first CD begins with six arias by Georg Friderich Händel. Lucia Popp recorded them in 1967, at a time when there was still little interest in Baroque music. She took up not only the few "warhorses" ("Piangerò" from Giulio Cesare and "O had I Jubel's Lyre" from Joshua), but also lesser known arias from Rodelinda and Ottone. This music, which can scathengly expose a voice's defciencies, wonderfully shows the artistry if Lucia Popp's singin. She guides her voice firmly yet flexibly, keeping her intonation light. These qualities are employed to good advantage in the three Mozart pieces which follow. She begins with Exsultate, jubilate, a virtuoso solo motet in the Venetian style which the 16-years-old Mozart wrote for the famous castrato Rauzzini in 1772. Then she turns to the settings of the Laudate Dominum from the two Vespres which Mozart wrote for the Salzburg cathedral in 1779/80, during his last two years as Salzburg Court Kapellmeister.

Lucia Popp recorded a highly noted Mozart recital in 1983. It documents the expansion of her repertoire in an exemplary manner. Where else can one find a singer who dares interpret the Countess, Susanna and Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) all in one and the same program? Cherubino's canzona ("Voi che sapete"), the Countess's "Porgi amor" and Susanna's "Rose" aria are coupled in the first CD with Aminta's great rondo from the early work Il Re Pastore (which Mozart composed for the archipiscopal court in Salzburg in 1775) and Ilia's "Zeffiretti" aria from Idomeneo. The second CD contains further excerpts from the 1983 recital: the aria of Donna Anna and Donna Elvira from the second act of Don Giovanni and Vitellia's "Non più di fiori" from the second act of La Clemenza di Tito. One literally hears how Lucia Popp's voice has evolved when one compares this recording with earlier ones: having embodied Blondchen in Josef Krips' complete recording of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in 1966, she was singing Konstanze's G minor aria (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) in 1983. Likewise in Così fan tutte: in 1971 she sang Despina under Otto Klemperer, but in 1983 it was Fiordiligi's "Come scoglio", an aria she rendered with dramatic expressiveness and whose enormous technical difficulties left her unruffled. And finally Die Zauberflöte: what other singer has been so compelling as the Königin der Nacht and Pamina? Königin der Nacht's two arias were taken from the legendary Klemperer production of 1964, and Pamina's G minor aria from the complete recording conducted by Bernard Haitink and produced seventeen years later.

Lucia Popp was also a highly qualified interpreter of the Slavonic repertoire, but unfortunately she sang such parts only infrequently. Our selection from a 1987 recital features some outstanding numbers, including Marie's aria from Prodaná Nevesta, which Lucia Popp turned into a musical psychodrama, the song to the moon of Dvorák's Rusalka, and Lisa's scene from Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, as well as rarities from Smetana's Dalibor and Dvorák's Armida.

The singer's portrait is rounded off by ab operetta CD. It is an age-old truth that what seems to be easy is actually cery difficult. Not surprisingly, the popular genres also require great attention and cultivated artistry. This is why this collection of favorite operetta melodies which Lucia Popp recorded in 1986 - and which ranges from Strauss to Stolz and from Suppé to Lincke - perhaps offers the most wit that make these pieces so delightful. Her inquisitive spirit also pushed her to look behind the standard repertoire in the field of operetta as well: among the pieces recorded 1970 which supplement the CD program are excerpts from two rarely perfomed operettas, Leo Fall's Die Kaiseri and Eduard Künneke's Liselott.

Special thanks to:

If you have any information about Lucia Popp (especially her recording), please e-mail me.


The Last word from Janácek <Príhody Lisky Bystrousky>

Totok nejsem já,
totok beli dedósek!
Oni mne o vás
Oni mne o vás

NISHIHARA Satoshi, < mail me >
Created: Apr 1, 1999,