Has there ever been a more enchanting soprano than Lucia Popp? Charming, vivacious and seductive on stage, she also had such an inner strength and seriousness that helped to make her a complete artist. With ancestry drawn from all corners of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, she was truly cosmopolitan, one reason perhaps for her versatility. She began her career as a fiery Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and made her name in a range of Mozart roles. Incomparable in the Czech repertoire, she graduated from soubrette to lyrical parts as her voice matured, and will always be remembered for such Strauss ladies as the Marschallin (in Der Rosenkavalier ), the title role in Arabella and the Countess (in Capriccio). From Lehár’s bittersweet ‘Vilja Song’ from The Merry Widow to Strauss’s title-role of Daphne, she left a large recorded legacy. Her second version of Strauss’s Four Last Songs became her valedictory disc.
In her own words: ‘Because I find it easy to communicate with people in real life, I am also able to do so on stage. I’m basically an extrovert. That helps.’
Greatest recording: The Very Best of Lucia Popp EMI 585 1025