Raina Kabaivanska

Raina Kabaivanska is one of the leading opera singers of our age. Born in Burgas (Bulgaria) on 15 December 1934, she graduated in voice and piano from Sofia Conservatory and in 1957 made her debut at the Bulgarian National Opera in the same city in Eugene Onegin by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In 1958 she won a Bulgarian government scholarship to study singing in Italy, where she studied under Ziga Fumagalli Riva. In 1959 she made her debut in Il Tabarro by Giacomo Puccini in Vercelli.

Her debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1961 was the beginning of a splendid career on the stages of all the world’s great theatres and concert halls – Covent Garden in London, Paris Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Metropolitan Оpera and Carnegie Hall in New York, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Staatsoper in Hamburg, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Sofia Opera Theatre, Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Tokyo Opera, the Salzburg Festival and many others. Raina Kabaivanska, who settled in Modena in the Sixties, performed a great deal in Italy, where she sang in all the great opera houses – La Scala in Milan, Teatro Verdi in Trieste, La Fenice in Venice, the Arena in Verona, the opera theatres of Turin, Genoa, Parma, Bologna and Modena, and Rome Opera. On stage, Raina Kabaivanska was partnered by great tenors of several generations – Franco Corelli, Mario del Monaco, Jon Wickers, Carlo Bergonzi, Alfredo Kraus, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

Madam-Buterfly-1_ Raina

In 2002 she established the “Raina Kabaivanska” Fund at the New Bulgarian University, to assist young singers from Bulgaria and of all nationalities with scholarships. Raina Kabaivanska teaches at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, the Istituto Musicale “Vecchi – Tonelli” in Modena and the New Bulgarian University in Sofia and holds prestige Masterclasses in various parts of the world; she also sits on the jury of several top competitions.

Tosca_Parma_2002_3_ raina

Awards

Raina Kabaivanska has received the following international opera awards: Vincenzo Bellini (1965), Viotti d’Oro (1970), Puccini (1978), Luigi Illica (1979), Claudio Monteverdi (1980), the Accademia Medici – Lorenzo il Magnifico Award, Florence (1990), “Una vita dedicata alla musica” Award, Venice (2000).

Honours

Grand’Ufficiale dell’Ordine al merito of the Italian Republic — 2000 Commandeur de l’Ordre des Lettres et des Arts of the French Republic – 2011

Famous roles

During her 55-year career, Raina Kabaivanska gave unforgettable performances in a strikingly wide repertoire, from the Eighteenth Century – Gluck (Armida), Spontini (La vestale), Rossini (Guglielmo Tell) to the Nineteeth Century – Donizetti (Roberto Devereux, Fausta), Bellini (Beatrice di Tenda, Il pirata), Berlioz (Benvenuto Cellini), Verdi (Don Carlos, Otello, Falstaff, La traviata, Il trovatore, La forza del destino, Vespri siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Ernani, Requiem), Wagner (Rienzi) Gounod (Faust), Tchaikovsky (The Queen of Spades, Eugene Onegin), Boito (Mefistofele), Massenet (Manon, Thaïs), Catalani (La Valli), Janacek (The Makropulos Case, Jenufa), Leoncavallo (Pagliacci), Puccini (Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, La bohème, Suor Angelica, Il tabarro, Turandot), Richard Strauss (Capriccio), Busoni (Turandot), Cilea (Adriana Lecouvreur), Giordano (Andrea Chénier) and the Twentieth Century – Malipiero (Torneo notturno), Zandonai (Francesca da Rimini), Poulenc (La voix humaine, Dialogues des carmélites), Weill (Lady in The Dark), Dallapiccola (Il prigioniero), Britten (The Turn of the Screw), Nino Rota (La scuola di guida), and also chamber operas by Massenet, Chausson, Ravel, Poulenc and Shostakovich. Her interpretations of great dramatic characters such as Adriana Lecouvreur, Francesca da Rimini, Manon Lescaut, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, portrayed in more than 400 performances, have emblematic, unique status.