Irina Arkhipova, a Russian mezzo-soprano and contralto at the Sverdlovsk Opera and Bolshoi theater, died yesterday of cardiac arrest at age 85.
The Associated Press reports that Arkhipova joined the Bolshoi in 1956, and sang leading opera roles there for decades. She sang Carmen in Bizet's Carmen, Amneris in Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, Marina and Marfa in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina and Helene in Prokofiev's War and Peace.
Arkhipova also sang outside of her native Russia. She made her American debut on November 27, 1964, according to The New York Times, singing Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Mussorgsky in Russian at Carnegie Hall.
She died at Moscow's Botkin hospital, and is survived by her husband, a grandson and a great granddaughter.