The Bulgarian diva was born December 15, 1934.
Hmmm, I am gaining an appreciation for her voice, really enjoyed the Devreaux clip. But I think her rap may be a permanent issue for me. The more I listen to Tosca the more I realize that I just don’t like it all that much and I’m not thrilled by Adriana or Verismo in general. I tend to prefer a fast, overtone-y vibrato, to me she has a similar timbre to Scotto, but with less wobble. Beautiful voice, intelligent artist, but just may not be my new obsession. Happy birthday nonetheless!
Mi primera e inolvidable Cio Cio San!!!
Gracias y enhorabuena….MAESTRA!!
Raina sang an Elisabetta in Don Carlo on a 1970 Met broadcast along with Corelli, Bumbry and Merrill. Sirius has yet to play this performance. I believe the only Met broadcasts with her on Sirius are an Onegin and a Manon Lescaut. She is definitely underrepresented on Met broadcasts.
I remember listening to that broadcast, and noting that her ‘Tu che le vanita’ was stunning. I would love to hear it again.
Kabaivanska’s Butterfly was one of the first opera videos I bought, alongside Marton/Aragall in Tosca and Dimitrova in Turandot, all from Verona in performances from the early 80s. As a teenager, I could hop in and out of Tosca, loved the spectacle of Turandot and the Ping/Pang/Pong scene, yet if I put Butterfly on I had to watch it all the way through. There was something compelling in her performance and inherently interesting in her voice that made me watch and listen.
It’s available on dvd. Youtube excerpts are in poor sound but you can hear a clip here (click on the x to skip the advert):
Here is a question for our vocal experts: does anyone know why Kabaivanska’s tongue might flutter as much as it does? Is this the reason for her distinctive sound? You can see it here, particularly around 1.41:
She seems to have made of both Tosca and Leonora in Trovatore some sort of specialty. She recorded the opera for the Acanta Label in Italy; a great recording.
The recording served as the soundtrack for the Movie that also has Bonisolli (in magnificent form) and Viorica Cortez looking more like Carmen than Azucena.
Seems like Karajan also had great respect for her, he cast her in the Pagliacci and also as Mrs. Ford in both the video and the recording of the production.
I was surprised when one of you guys mentioned how Raina felt a special connection to XXth century music and then saw several clips of Makropulos with her in Italian. What a shame that it was not filmed for telecast.
And not only that, there are also house vids of her as the new governess in Turn of the screw. It is in italian, but who cares? That would have been such a great thing to have in better quality video.
I was very happy to have heard her once at the MET:
12,21,64 MET Kabaivanska, Grillo, Bergonzi, Herlea, Giaiotti, Corena; Santi
It was the awful hacked apart edition of Forza that Bing had sanctioned but it was still a really good performance of what was left.
For anyone out there that still doesn’t “get” la Kabaivanska, perhaps this offering will help? It was with this aria, in concert at Teatro dell’Opera Roma in 1986 pr 87, that I suddenly woke up to what this woman had to give. Please disregard the visuals, as I am sure some of them will find them over the top and amusing.
oh NO!! Madame Stella pre-empted her!! Let me go find the missing Kabaivanska!
oh NO NO NO! What is going on here? Dammit! Back to youtube!
Third time works the charm? It’s supposed to be the aria from Edgar, if Mme. Stella shows up once more. I’m so sorry. Back to YouTube importing school for me.
There are several honest and accurate tributes on this thread from people who actually saw her in her prime: from Richard, Ercole, Camille, all of you have said it better than I ever could. She was in the same class as Gencer & Olivero. In terms of stage presence, Kabaivanska had a unique, inborn genteel quality. Her stage personality, her singing, & her beautiful voice were the epitome of elegance itself as defined here: “Elegance is the attribute of being unusually effective and simple. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness….”
I was fortunate enough to see her in New York in performances for over 10 years from the late 60′s through the 70′s. I can’t explain how magical her performances were. As Maddalena di Coigny, Butterfly, Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Mimi, Nedda, Francesa da Rimini, Marguerite in Faust, Lisa in Pikovaya Dama & Tatyana in Onegin.
After 1980, IMO Kabaivanska didn’t record that well, so I find her videos of Tosca & Butterfly disappointing. She can be heard at her best in those live CD’s as Maddalena di Coigny, Donizetti’s Fausta & Margarita in Mefistofele, etc. but alas the sound quality on most of them is rather poor quality but oh, what heavenly singing! Her last Met broadcast (Tatyana in Onegin 1979) you can hear on Sirius still shows the full incredible beauty of her tone, but it too is not in the best of sound… however, the Sirius/Met Player Puccini Manon Lescaut broadcast from 1966 has been doctored up by technicians and is in good sound.
Perhaps Kabaivanska was used as sort of a house singer at the Met. Even if it was so, what incredible good fortune to have such a “house” singer of unequalled quality as Kabaivanska was. How lucky I was to live in New York at that time & to be able to attend so many performance by such a great artist!
I always loved Raina in this one:
does anyone know why her RCA studio recordings were never released in the USA? I have the studio FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, but years ago also saw a MANON LESCAUT with Giacomini and an ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, both on the RCA label in europe. all are out of print now. A friend also wanted the Francesca and I fortunately found a second copy in Capetown of all places and quickly bought it.
There was also a fun recital on RCA -- very diverse with bits from La straniera I remember. I blow hot and cold about her voice, but she was definitely a huge presence and very involving and endearing on stage.
Recently, through a link from Lindora Almaviva, I found a 1991 Trovatore, which I was directed to as a memorial to the divine Verrett, and Kabaivanska is going strong, a wonderfully in your face Leonora, a bit blowsy, inevitably, but both ladies sound as if they are having a BALL. I guess a Leonora-Azucena duet would be dramatically improbable, to say the least, but this performance makes you regret the omission, even so!
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