On the surface, Christa Ludwig and Teresa Berganza have nothing in common, aside from the fact that they were born on the same day, March 16, and were two of the greatest mezzo-sopranos in history.
But their repertoire was wildly different. Ludwig was best known for her native German repertoire while the Spaniard, Berganza, was famous for her work in Rossini and Mozart.
And yet, the two actually sang similar repertoire. Here are a few roles that the two women sang, either live or in the studio.
Berganza was a renowned “Carmen” interpreter, putting together one of the most famous recordings of the Bizet masterpiece and appearing in a film version of it. Herbert von Karajan famously called her the “Carmen of the century.” Ludwig also took on the role throughout her career and made a famed recording of it with Horst Stein.
Così Fan Tutte – Dorabella
Both singers made major debuts with the third of Mozart’s Da Ponte operas. Berganza made her operatic debut singing the role of Dorabella at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Ludwig made her American debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the same exact role.
Le Nozze di Figaro – Cherubino
This one is perhaps the most uncanny of all as both mezzos made their Metropolitan Opera debuts singing the role of Cherubino. Ludwig made her first Met appearance in 1959 while Berganza’s came in 1967.
Werther – Charlotte
The role of Charlotte is rather heavy when it comes to the French repertoire, but the two women made it their own in different ways. Ludwig’s dramatic chops made for a more forceful interpretation while Berganza’s was far more delicate and fragile.