Della Casa, Lisa

Swiss soprano, b. 1919

As Arabella

Biographical notes:

Lisa della Casa studied with Margarete Häser in Zürich and made her debut as Cio-Cio-San (!) in Solothurn-Biel in 1941. She was engaged by the Stadttheater Zurich where she appeared in a variety of roles: As Serena in Porgy and Bess, Pamina and Gilda. She created the Young Woman in Burkhard’s Die schwarze Spinne in 1949. In 1947 she was invited to Salzburg for the first time where she appeared as Zdenka in Arabella. The following summer she returned to sing the Countess in Capriccio. In 1951 she made her British debut as the Countess at Glyndebourne. Later that year she sang Arabella in Munich, the role she became most closely associated with. Concentrating her repertory on Strauss and Mozart roles, she sang with great success at all major opera houses. She became a member of the Vienna Staatsoper in 1947. In 1952 she appeared as Eva at the Bayreuther Festspiele, but she did not like the atmosphere of intrigues and never returned. She was also engaged to the Met from 1953 to 1968, making her debut as the Countess Almaviva. Probably best known as a superb Strauss singer, Lisa Della Casa graduated from Sophie through Octavian to Marschallin and from Zdenka to Arabella. She also sang Ariadne, Chrysothemis and Salome. In the Mozart repertory she was an admired Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, Pamina, Countess and Fiordiligi. She worked with all great conductors of her time. Lisa della Casa was a critical and reflective person admitting that she did not like “music business” with its intrigues and vanities. Explaining more than once, that serious work in a real ensemble had become very rare, she finished her career to everyone’s surprise in 1974.




As Donna Elvira


As the Countess


As Marschallin at the Met


Hilde Güden, Sena Jurinac and Lisa della Casa in “Der Rosenkavalier”, Salzburg Festival, 1960


As Euridice


Recordings: (selection)

Beethoven - Fidelio (Furtwängler 1948 live/Schlüter, Patzak, Edelmann, Schock)


Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice (Monteux 1957/Stevens, Peters)


Mozart - Così fan tutte (Böhm 1955/Ludwig, Demota, Kunz, Loose, Schöffler)


Mozart - Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira/Furtwängler 1954/Siepi, Grümmer, Dermota, Edelmann, Berry, Berger)


Mozart - Don Giovanni (as Donna Anna/Böhm 1955/London, Dermota, Jurinac, Kunz, Seefried)


Mozart - Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira/Krips 1955/Siepi, Danco, Dermota, Corena, Güden, Berry)


Mozart - Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira/Mitropoulos 1956/Siepi, Frick, Grümmer, Simoneau, Corena, Streich, Berry)


Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro (Kleiber 1955/Siepi, Güden, Poell, Danco)


Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro (Leinsdorf 1958/London, Tozzi, Peters, Elias, Corena)


Mozart - Die Zauberflöte (Szell 1959/Köth, Sciutti, Simoneau, Berry, Böhme, Hotter)

Orfeo d’or

Strauss - Arabella (as Zdenka/Böhm 1947 live/Reining, Anday, Hotter, Hann, Patzak)


Strauss - Arabella (as Arabella/Solti 1957/Gueden, London, Malaniuk, Dermota)


Strauss - Arabella (as Arabella/Keilberth 1964 live/Fischer-Dieskau, Rothenberger, Malaniuk, Paskuda)


Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos (Böhm 1954 live/Seefried, Schöffler, Güden, Schock)


Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos (Erede 1959/Excerpts/ Schock, Otto, Puttar and 7 songs)


Strauss - Capriccio (Heger 1960 live/Günter, Holm, Prey, Böhme, Litz)

Voce della luna

Strauss - Elektra (Mitropoulos 1957 live/Borkh, Lorenz, Madeira, Böhme)

Orfeo d’or

Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier (as Sophie/Karajan 1952 live/ Schwarzkopf, Jurinac, Edelmann, Kunz)


Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier (as Octavian/Krauss 1953 live/Reining, Böhme, Güden, Poell)


Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier (as Marschallin/Karajan 1960 live/Edelmann, Jurinac, Gueden, Kunz)


Von Einem - Der Prozess (Böhm 1953 live/Lorenz, Hofmann, Berry, Poell)

Orfeo d’or

Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Knappertsbusch 1952 live/Edelmann, Hopf, Pflanzl, Böhme, Unger, Malaniuk)


Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Knappertsbusch 1955 live/Frantz, Hopf, Pflanzl, Frick, Kuen, Töpper)

Orfeo d’or

Excerpts from Rosenkavalier with A. Rothenberger (Sophie and Octavian)

Berlin Classics

Strauss - Lieder


Strauss - Vier letzte Lieder (+ excerpts Arabella/Hollreiser)


Mozart - Requiem (Walter 1956)

Orfeo d’or

Grosse Mozartsänger 1949 - 1960

Orfeo d’or

Mike Richter’s Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 4



As Ariadne


“Salome was a vocal experiment!”


As Chrysothemis


Lisa della Casa (Zdenka) and Horst Taubmann (Matteo), Zurich 1946


Robert Steane wrote: “Della Casa remains one of the best of all sopranos in Richard Strauss. Her voice has that touch of spring and silver that Strauss loved and wrote for; her tone will float and soar. She is also very beautiful, very feminine, suggesting a wholly appealing kind of fragility, tender and unmannered... The feeling of something too cautious and placid, limits some of her Mozart. Her Elvira and Countess lack an element of command and dramatic projection surely needful in both... Nevertheless it is certainly very lovely singing...But it is probably for Arabella that della Casa will be most widely remembered... She makes an immediate impression of beauty and graciousness with her first phrases, sings with soaring abandon as she looks forward to the appearance of ‘der Richtige’.”

  Er ist der Richtige nicht für mich (Title role in Arabella / R. Strauss / 1963 live / Joseph Keilberth)


A beautiful Countess Almaviva