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Ljuba Welitsch; Opera Star Won Fame in Strauss' 'Salome'

September 07, 1996|From Associated Press

VIENNA — Ljuba Welitsch, a Bulgarian-born soprano who gained international fame for her interpretation of Richard Strauss' "Salome," has died. She was 83.

The Standard, a Vienna newspaper, said that with Welitsch's death Sunday, "a living piece of opera history has been lost."

Welitsch, born Ljuba Velickova in Borissovo, Bulgaria, performed in Sofia, the Austrian city Graz, and Hamburg, Germany, before coming to Vienna in 1940, when she sang at the Volksoper in "Madame Butterfly."

It was her Vienna State Opera debut four years later that made her a star. Welitsch sang in a special performance of "Salome" to celebrate Strauss' 80th birthday.

Welitsch went on to win praise for her performances in the title roles of "Aida" and "Tosca," and as Tatyana in "Eugene Onegin." She also gained fame for her interpretation of Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" under Josef Krips in 1946 and Wilhelm Furtwangler in 1950.

Engagements in Milan, Italy, and London in 1947 and New York in 1949 made her an international star.

After her Metropolitan Opera debut performance in the title role of "Salome," the New York Times reported that Welitsch received at least 15 minutes of cheering and whistling from an ecstatic audience.

She was active for many years as a recording artist and in films, on radio and in television.

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