|Year of Birth:||1939|
|Year of Death:||2015|
Elena Vasiliyevna Obraztsova (Russian: Елена Васильевна Образцова; 7 July 1939 – 12 January 2015) was a Russian mezzo-soprano. She was awarded the People's Artist of the USSR in 1976.
As a child, Obraztsova lived in Leningrad through the severe long siege (more than 870 days) during World War II. In 1948, at the age of nine, she began singing in the children's chorus of the Pioneers Palace in Leningrad.
From 1954-57, she studied in the Tchaikovsky musical college in Taganrog and frequently participated in concerts onstage of Taganrog Theatre. From 1957 to 1958, Obraztsova studied in Rostov on Don's music school. In August 1958, Obraztsova passed the examinations and became a student at the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1963 she was invited to perform in a Bolshoi Theater production of Boris Godunov in Moscow. Her introduction to the opera houses of Europe and the world was a recital in the Salle Pleyel in Paris.
She played many roles throughout her career, including performances under the baton of such leading conductors as Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. In December 1977 she opened the 200th opera season in La Scala singing Don Carlos's Eboli with Abbado as conductor. She first performed in New York in 1976, in Aida, and was called a "major artist" in reviews.
In 1978, she played the title role of Carmen opposite Plácido Domingo in Franco Zeffirelli's television production of the opera. She also appeared as Santuzza in Zeffirelli's film version of Cavalleria rusticana in 1982. In her career she performed in operas with many other well-known opera singers of her generation: Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Ingvar Wixell. She sang Carmen opposite Placido Domingo in Franco Zeffirelli’s film of the Bizet opera, and appeared in Don Carlos with Domingo and Margaret Price.