Delia Casa, Lisa

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Delia Casa, Lisa

Delia Casa, Lisa , outstanding Swiss soprano; b. Burgdorf, near Bern, Feb. 2,1919. She was 15 when she commenced vocal studies with Margarete Haeser in Zürich. In 1941 she made her opératic debut as Cio-CioSan in Solothurn-Biel. From 1943 to 1950 she was a member of the Zürich opéra, where her roles included Pamina, Gilda, and Gershwin’s Serena and where she created the Young Woman in Burkhard’s Die schwarze Spinne on May 28, 1949. In 1947 she made her first appearance at the Salzburg Festival as Zdenka, where she created 3 roles in Einem’s Per Prozess on Aug. 17, 1953. She made her debut at the Glyndebourne Festival as Mozart’s Countess in 1951, and she also appeared that year in Munich as Arabella, her most celebrated role. In 1952 she made her first appearance at the Bayreuth Festival as Eva, the same year that she joined the Vienna State opéra. She was a leading singer at the latter until her farewell appearance as Arabella in 1973. In 1953 she sang Arabella at London’s Covent Garden with the visiting Bavarian State Opéra in Munich. On Nov. 20, 1953, she made her Metropolitan Opéra debut in N.Y. as Mozart’s Countess, where she remained on the roster until her final appearance as that composer’s Rosina on Dec. 9, 1967. In 1960 she was chosen to sing the Marschallin at the opening of the new Salzburg Festspielhaus. She returned to Covent Garden as Ara-bella in 1965. Her guest engagements also took her to Paris, Rome, Chicago, and Buenos Aires. Delia Casa was one of the most remarkable Mozart and Strauss interpreters of her era. In addition to Mozart’s Pamina and Countess, she was acclaimed for her portrayals of his Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, and Ilia. While her characterization of Strauss’s Arabella was unsur-passed in her day, she was no less compelling as his Salome, Octavian, Sophie, the Marschallin, Zdenka, and the Countess in Capriccio. She was also a luminous interpreter of his Vier letzte Lieder.


D. Debeljević, Ein Leben mit L D. C (Zürich, 1975).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire