Irra Petina

Met contralto. Born 18 April 1908. Died 19 January 2000
Irra Petina
Irra Petina

Irra Petina Biography (Wikipedia)

Irra Petina (April 18, 1908 - January 19, 2000) was an actress and singer as well as a leading contralto with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She was called the "floperetta queen" by critic Ken Mandelbaum.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Petina was the daughter of General Stephen Petin, Czar Nicholas II's personal escort, and a goddaughter of the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna. Her debut role with the Met was as Schwertleite in Richard Wagner's Die Walküre (the second part of the acclaimed Ring Cycle) on December 29, 1933. She appeared as Maddalena in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto with Jan Peerce, the marquise of Berkenfeld in Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment with Lily Pons, Mallika in Léo Delibes's Lakmé, Feodor in Boris Godunov, Annina in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, and the title role in Bizet's Carmen.

Petina's portrayal of Marcellina in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (27 Met performances in all, with four radio broadcasts), won her rave reviews from the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune. Additional credits include 35 Met performances as Berta in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, and despite being a contralto, the high soprano role of Rosalinde in a 1944 national tour of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s operetta Die Fledermaus.

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