Bulgaria soprano Raina Kabaivanska was born on Dec. 15, 1934 and would go on to a prominent opera career that saw her sing with such companies as the Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, the Budapest Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Paris Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera, among many other places.
Her first La Scala showcase was opposite Dame Joan Sutherland and in 1973 she had the distinction of being directed by Maria Callas in the famed diva’s “I Vespri Siciliani,” the only production Callas ever directed.
Noted for her acting skills, it is no surprise that she was a go-to for those interested in making film operas and this was the case as Kabaivanska appeared in a number prominent “opera films.” Here is a look at them.
The 1968 film features the soprano as Nedda alongside Jon Vickers’ Canio, Peter Glossop’s Tonio, and Rolando Panerai’s Silvio. Herbert Von Karajan conducts and directs the TV film.
In 1976, she appeared alongside Plácido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes in Gianfranco De Bosio’s adaptation of the famed opera. This movie version is recognized for its solid pacing and visual artistry.
Un Bel Dì Vedremo
Now past her famed opera days, the soprano appeared in Tonino Valerii’s 1997 film, which also featured Giuilando Gemma, Massimo Girotti, Massimo Wertmükkerm and many others.
In 2005, she appeared in Patrice Chéreau’s film, which starred Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, and Claudia Coli, among others. She appears as the Cantatrice in the film.