picture of the singer Ljuba Welitsch, soprano

The soprano Ljuba Welitsch was born in Borissovo as Ljuba Welitschkova in 1913. After beginning her career singing with the Sofia National Opera in 1934, she moved to Graz, Austria in 1936, and changed her name to Ljuba Welitsch.

With her flaming red hair, she conquered the opera stages of Europe and the United States. Between 1940 and 1946 she was a regular soloist with the State Opera Houses of Hamburg, Munich and Vienna. At the Salzburg Festivals in 1946 and 1950 Welitsch was the Donna Anna in the performances of Don Giovanni. Her first appearance in London was in 1947. Following a successful debut with the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Salome on 4 February 1949, she continued on there specializing in the roles of Donna Anna, Aida, Musetta, and Tosca. Additional appearances in the United States included Chicago and San Francisco.

Upon retiring in 1981 with her final performance being with the Vienna Volksoper, Ljuba Welitsch had sung 813 performances in Vienna between the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, 46 times in London and 63 times at the Metropolitan Opera. She died in Vienna on 31 August 1996.

When refusing the role of Senta in The Flying Dutchman she is quoted as saying, "I am not a German peasant girl, I am a sexy Bulgarian." Impressive in her dramatic interpretation and in soft, sustained lyrical passages, she is considered to be in the same class of dramatic singing actresses as Maria Callas and Maria Jeritza.

Lehar: Merry Widow Vilja, oh Vilja
Mozart: Don Giovanni Crudele! Ah no mio bene
Puccini: Tosca Vissi d'arte
Strauss: Salome "Final Scene"
J. Strauss: Gypsy Baron "Czardas"
Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame "Aria of Lisa, Act 3"
Verdi: Masked Ball Morro, ma prima in grazia