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Irina Konstantinovna Arkhipova

(Russian: Ирина Константиновна Архипова) (2 January 1925 – 11 February 2010) 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.

Before switching to voice, she studied architecture. She studied at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1954 she debuted in Sverdlovsk, and was made a member of the Bolshoi Theatre in 1956. She was named a People's Artist of the USSR ten years later.

Arkhipova was at the height of her career in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time she was an international star, interpreting both Russian and Italian repertoire. Her technique was irreproachable, and she had great expressive power. She has been compared with Christa Ludwig. One of her most celebrated roles is as Marfa in Khovanshchina by Modest Mussorgsky, as recorded with Boris Khaikin in 1972.

She died in Moscow on 11 February 2010, aged 85.[1]