Lisa Della Casa, 93, Swiss opera diva

Lisa Della Casa and Walter Berry in “The Magic Flute.”
Associated Press/file 1959
Lisa Della Casa and Walter Berry in “The Magic Flute.”

GENEVA — Famed for her beauty that matched her serene voice, Lisa Della Casa swept up crowds at opera houses of the past century with an elegant and radiant style that established her as one of the finest sopranos of her generation.

After more than 400 performances at the Vienna State Opera, where her interpretations of many great roles, particularly those from opera by Mozart and Strauss, won her wide acclaim, Ms. Della Casa left the opera world in 1974, apparently weary of the music business.

Ms. Della Casa died Monday at 93 in the northern Swiss town of Muensterlingen.


Ms. Della Casa was born near the Swiss capital, Bern, and trained in Zurich. Her first performance, during World War II, came as Puccini’s ­‘‘Madame Butterfly.’’ She would go on to perform on many of the world’s great opera stages including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, and La Scala.

Ms. Della Casa retired to her castle along Lake Constance in northern Switzerland, where she lived with her husband, journalist and violinist Dragan Debeljevic, and their daughter, Vesna.