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Obituaries : Lucia Popp; Longtime Leading Soprano With Vienna State Opera

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From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lucia Popp, a longtime leading soprano with the Vienna State Opera, died Tuesday of cancer, opera officials announced. She was 54.

In recent years, Miss Popp was a standout in annual productions of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” by Austrian theater director Otto Schenk. Her last performance in Vienna was a song recital in September.

When Miss Popp gave a recital two years ago at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium, Times music writer Daniel Cariaga pronounced the singer “in fine fettle” and noted that several selections were “exquisitely performed.”

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The Vienna State Opera, which hung a large black flag of mourning outside the opera house Tuesday, said Miss Popp died in Munich, Germany.

Born in the Slovak town of Uhorska Ves on Nov. 12, 1939, she studied at the music academy in Bratislava and made her debut in the opera house there as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

She was invited by Herbert von Karajan to join the Vienna State Opera in 1963, and had been a leading member since then.

In 1963 she also made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in “The Magic Flute.”

One of her greatest successes was in the role of Marzelline in Beethoven’s “Fidelio” directed by Leonard Bernstein.

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