It's her birthday - Raina Kabaivanska

Raina Kabaivanska - Francesca da Rimini
One of the great Divas of the last half of the Twentieth Century and beyond turns 79 today.  Bulgarian born, Raina Kabaivanska became one of the most popular lyrico-spinto sopranos during the 70's and 80's .  Renowned for her Verismo roles especially that of Puccini's Tosca and Madama Butterfly but most notedly Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini. 

Fortunately many of her key roles were recorded either on disc or video.  She can be seen in a movie version of Tosca with Placido Domingo, as well as Il Trovatore with Domingo and Karajan and Madama Butterfly from the Arena di Verona.

Personally I will always associate Raina Kabaivanska from her radiant interpretation of Zandonai's Francesca.  This opera is to me one of the more unjustly neglected masterpieces of Verismo opera.  It's heady mix of Medieval Romanticism and early Twentieth Century tone colours make for captivating theatre.

Here is the final part of the love duet sugn with Franco Tagliavini as Paolo Malatesta.  This is from Verona in 1980 and gives a great display of Kabaivanska's immense talent.  Happy birthday Raina Kabaivanska.