Thursday, December 3, 2009
More about LUCIA POPP (1939 - 1993)
Lucia Popp [originally: Lucia Poppová] debuted at 23 years old at the Bratislava Opera singing Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan hired her to sing with the Vienna State Opera company. She soon became famous for singing the Queen of the Night, a role in which she was considered unsurpassed.
The esteemed Slovak-born Austrian soprano, Lucia Popp, after finishing school, studied medicine for two semesters. She began her career by training as an actress. Anna Hrusovska-Prosenkova, a voice teacher at the Academy, happened to hear her singing during a performance of Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and offered her voice lessons. Only then did she begin studying music and singing at the Conservatories of Brünn and Prague. She attended the Bratislava Music Academy for four years, completing course in general music and voice studies. She began her studies as a mezzo-soprano, but her voice quite suddenly developed a high upper register.
In January 1979 Lucia Popp received the title of Kammersängerin in Vienna, and in 1983 she received the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin from the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Lucia Popp was unquestionably at the height of her art when she passed away so prematurely in 1994 (of brain cancer).
It's well known that flashy, high, bright-timbered voices usually have trouble developing a warm tonal colour. But Lucia Popp was able to warm up her tone, which, with its sweet, meditative piano, English critic John Steane (in his book The Grand Tradition - Seventy Years of Singing on Record) compared to an oboe. Thus, from the Queen of the Night - probably the best exponent of the role on record (according to Steane) - Lucia Popp became a lyric singer with a dazzling technique, and further enriched the aural and colour possibilities of her voice by singing Lieder.