Sofia Preobrazhenskya was one of the most outstanding Russian mezzo-sopranos of her time. She was born and died in Leningrad. Her career as an opera singer spanned over thirty years and was focused almost exclusively upon this city. She studied at the Leningrad Conservatory with the distinguished tenors Ershoff and Zaitseva, and made her début at Gatob in 1928 in the role of the Page in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots. She appeared at the Salzburg Festival in the same year and later became the first Russian to sing Octavian in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier in her native language. Her repertoire included the major mezzosoprano parts, notably Joan of Arc in Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans, Marina in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Amneris in Verdi’s Aida. She refused to leave her native city during the siege which it endured in 1941 and 1942 and did much to sustain morale. She was named a People’s Artist of the USSR in 1955, and as late as 1960 sang the part of the Countess on the soundtrack of a film version of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov.