Artist Profile: Lucia Popp, A Prodigious Soprano

By David Salazar

Soprano Lucia Popp was born on Nov. 12, 1939, and destined for a rather potent career at an early age.

Born in the Slovak State, she originally set out on a course to study drama at the Bratislava Academy. She originally started taking voice lessons as a mezzo-soprano but eventually graduated as a soprano. At age 23, she made her professional debut in Bratislava and in 1963 she made her Vienna State Opera at the behest of Herbert Von Karajan. She also appeared in the 1963 Slovak film “Tereza.”

She made her Royal Opera House debut at the Covent Garden in 1966 and at the Met Opera in 1967; she was still in her 20s.

In her 30s, she switched over to more lyric roles and in her 40s, she continued to try out darker roles.

However, tragedy struck in 1993 when she died of brain cancer in Munich. She left behind an extended discography that includes mostly roles that she performed.

Major Roles

The soprano started her career in lighter repertoire before delving into more lyric roles. Mozart dominated her early career, particularly the role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte.” She made her professional debut with the role at age 23 and would make a famed recording in 1963 with the role; she was 24. She also made her Met debut in the role in 1967; 24 of her 26 Met Opera performances were in the role.

In her later years, she was a major interpreter of Strauss’ operas. Popp was also a renowned recitalist.

Watch and Listen

Here’s her iconic Queen of the Night.

And here’s a varied assortment of different repertoire.


Opera Wiki