Placido Domingo, Raina Kabaivanska, Nicolai Ghiaurov
Renowned for her interpretations of the roles of Tosca, Manon, Francesca da Rimini, and Madame Butterfly, this internationally famous soprano has earned the nickname "the Heroine of Melodrama." Kabaivanska accomplished her advanced vocal and piano studies at the Bulgarian State Conservatory in Sofia. In 1958, she moved to Italy and further developed her technique with Zita Fumagalli. She made her debut at the Sofia National Opera in 1957 in the role of Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. But Kabaivanska's most important debut was in the role of Agnese in Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda at Milan's La Scala in 1961. At her Covent Garden debut in 1962, she sang Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, and for New York's Metropolitan she sang Nedda in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. Her 1975 Paris debut was as Leonore in Verdi's Il trovatore, and for her Salzburg debut, she interpreted the role of Mrs. Ford in Verdi's Falstaff. Kabaivanska has been awarded with many accolades throughout her career, including the Premio Bellini (1965) for her interpretation of Beatrice di Tenda, the Viotti d'oro (1970), the Premio Puccini (1978), the Premio Illica (1979), Premio Monteverdi (1980), and the Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico from the Medici Academy for the Arts in Florence (1990). In 1974, Bulgarian Television dedicated a film to her entitled The Seasons of Raina Kabaivanska.