|Year of Birth:||1919|
|Year of Death:||2012|
Lisa Della Casa (2 February 1919 – 10 December 2012) was a Swiss soprano most admired for her interpretations of major heroines in operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss, and of German lieder. She was also described as “the most beautiful woman on the operatic stage”.
Della Casa was born in Burgdorf, Switzerland to an Italian-Swiss father, Francesco Della Casa, and a Bavarian-born mother, Margarete Mueller. She began studying singing at the age of 15 at the Zurich Conservatory, and her teachers included Margarete Haeser.
She made her operatic debut in the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Solothurn-Biel Municipal Theater in 1940. She joined the ensemble of Zurich Municipal Opera House in 1943 (staying there until 1950) and sang various parts, from the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute to Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Later she sang Fiordiligi. She sang the part of Zdenka in the performance of Richard Strauss's Arabella at Zurich Municipal Opera House alongside Maria Cebotari's Arabella in 1946. Cebotari recognized her talent and introduced her at the Salzburg Festival in 1947, where she sang Zdenka again in a production starring Maria Reining and Hans Hotter. After the premiere performance, Strauss himself commented, "The little Della Casa will one day be Arabella!" ("Die Kleine Della Casa wird eines Tages Arabella sein!"). That same year on 18 October, she made her debut at the Vienna State Opera House, singing the part of Nedda in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. Soon she moved to Vienna and joined the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera House. In 1949, she made her debut at La Scala in Milan as Sophie in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio. Victor de Sabata, the musical director of La Scala at that time, tried to persuade her to move to La Scala, but she chose to remain in Vienna.