The Lyric Stage: February 28 at 8PM - Lisa della Casa
On this week's Lyric Stage we have Lisa della Casa singing Mozart and Strauss, including the first complete recording of Strauss' Four Last Songs, which she made in 1953. She will also sing arias by Handel and Puccini, and some Lehar as well.
The Swiss soprano was a major presence on the international opera scene from the late 1940's to the mid 1970's, particularly at the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, and for 15 seasons at the Metropolitan in New York. Mozart and Strauss dominated her repertoire, but not always by choice. She asked Rudolf Bing, the General Manager at the Met, for the opportunity to sing more Italian and French roles, but he insisted that he had a surplus of sopranos for those roles, and that she was indispensible for Mozart and Strauss. And when she sings Mozart and Strauss, we understand his thinking, if not his stubbornness.
No one could possibly regret all the performances and recordings of Strauss and Mozart that della Casa made, but it's hard not to wish that she had had more time to sing composer's like Puccini more often than she did.