She was born March 16th, 1928 in Berlin, Germany to Anton Ludwig and Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, both singers in their own right.
She would make her operatic debut in 1946, at 18, in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the Oper Frankfurt, where she would sing for the next six years. In 1955, she would become a Principal soloist with the Vienna State Opera, starting a relationship that would continue to sing there until her retirement, receiving the title of Kammersängerin in 1962.
In 1959, she started singing with the Metropolitan Opera, and continued singing with them up until her final season in 1993. She would sing 121 performances at the Met in 15 different roles, including The Dyer’s Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, the title role and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, Klytemnestra in Elektra, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Kundry in Parsifal, the title role in Fidelio, Didon in Les Troyens, Charlotte in Werther, and Amneris in Aida.
She would also appear at the Bayreuth Festival as Brangäne in 1966 and then as Kundry in 1967.
As Ms. Ludwig matured, her roles and repertoire also changed, moving from lyric and spinto mezzo-roles to dramatic roles.
She would conduct a retirement tour during the 1993-1994 opera season, singing several concerts, but as well as her final appearances at both the Met Opera and the Vienna State Opera.
She would receive many awards during her career in addition to her Kammersängerin award, including: the Golden Gustav Mahler Medal, the Hugo Wolf Medal, Honorary Member of the Vienna State Opera, Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Golden Medal of Honour, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, Officer of the Legion of Honour , Merit Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria.
She was married twice, first to bass-baritone Walter Berry and then to actor Paul-Emile Deiber.
Ms. Ludwig passed away April 24th, 2021 in Klosterneuburg, Austria.