It's her birthday...Ileana Cotrubas
Endearing is often a word one associates with the talent of Romanian soprano Ileana Cotrubas. Her engaging stage presence and beautiful lyric voice made her popluar as Mimi, Gilda and Violetta in particular. These, her signature roles are well preserved on disc and film and still available.
I first heard her in the ROH La Boheme broadcast of 1983 and loved her ever since. In fact I only recently purchased a copy on DVD and her interpretation is a fresh as ever.
Here is a snippet of a Met broadcast of La Traviata from 1981, from E strano to the end of Act 1. You can also see the complete opera on YouTube too. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.