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Ileana Cotrubaş was born in Galati, Romania in 1939 and studied singing in Bucharest, making her operatic debut in 1964 as Yniold inPélleas et Mélisande (she would later go on to sing the female protagonist); early career roles included Gilda, Blondchen and Pamina, though by the time she made her Covent Garden debut in 1971 (as Tatyana) she was singing heavier repertoire. She was also acclaimed as Mimì (the role with which she made her Metropolitan Opera debut), Violetta, Micaela, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier and Ilia.
Her discography includes the title-role in La traviata (‘an ideal heroine for this opera, for her characterisation combines strength with vulnerability’ – Penguin Guide) under Carlos Kleiber and Adina in L’elisir d’amore under John Pritchard (both opposite Placido Domingo), Suor Genovieffa and Lauretta on Lorin Maazel’s recording of Il trittico and (on DVD) Tytania in Peter Hall’s Glyndebourne production of Britten’s A Midsummmer Night’s Dream
Cotrubaş retired from the stage in 1990.