Irina Konstantinovna Arkhipova was a Russian mezzo-soprano, and later contralto, opera singer. She sang leading roles first in Russia at the Sverdlovsk Opera and the Bolshoi Theater, and then throughout Europe and in the United States.
Born: January 2, 1925, Moscow, Russia
Died: February 11, 2010, Moscow, Russia
She studied at the Moscow Conservatory from 1954 to 1956 and sang with the Sverdlovak Opera where her roles included Marina in Boris Godunov, Eboli in Don Carlos Charlotte in Werther. Her first Bolshoi performance was as Carmen, one of her greatest roles. The Bolshoi became her operatic home and she sang all her greatest roles there.
Here is a splendid rendition of Caccini's Ave Maria: