Obituary: Soprano Wilma Lipp Passes Away At 93

By Nicole Kuchta

The Vienna State Opera has announced that Austrian soprano Wilma Lipp passed away at her home on Jan. 26, 2019. She was 93, having been born in Vienna on Apr. 26, 1925.

Lipp trained with Friedel Sindel, Paola Novikova, and Toti dal Monte in Milan, eventually joining the Vienna State Opera, where she became an important leading Mozart soprano. She debuted as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” on Jan. 13, 1948, and performed the role 128 times in Vienna. Other roles performed by Lipp included Pamina, Rosina in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” Constance in Mozart’s “Die Entführung aus dem Serail,” Donna Elvira in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Olympia and Antonia in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” Sophie in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier,” and Nedda in Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” to name a few. For her farewell performance on Jun. 5, 1981, she sang the role of Marianne Leitmetzerin in “Der Rosenkavalier.”

In 1982 she became an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera, and in 2004 she received the Gold Medal of Honor for services to the State of Vienna.

Internationally, Lipp performed at Europe’s foremost opera houses in London, Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich. She also appeared in concert all over the world, performing a wide variety of repertoire.

Lipp was also a talented educator, teaching at the Salzburg Mozarteum through the nineties.

Vienna State Opera Director Dominique Meyer describes Lipp as a model for today’s singers, an example of “how to flourish as a permanent member of a house and build an international career in parallel.” He continues, “We bow in gratitude and humility to Wilma Lipp, who has made four decades of artistic gold.”

The Jan. 30, 2019 performance of Verdi’s “Falstaff” at the Vienna State Opera was dedicated to Lipp, and a black flag was hoisted as a symbol of mourning.

Here is a clip of the soprano performing from  “Die Zauberflöte.”