Nadezhda Ivanovna Zabela-Vrubel (Russian: Надежда Ивановна Забела-Врубель 1 April OS 20 March 1868, Kovno - 4 July OS 21 June 1913, St. Petersburg) was the Ukrainian and Russian opera singer, the niece of the famous Ukrainian sculptor Parmen Zabila. Vocally, she is best described as a lyrical (coloratura) soprano, with a particularly high tessitura.
In 1891 she graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, having been in the class of Natalia Iretskaya. She also studied in Paris with Mathilde Marchesi. She sang her debut in 1893 at the I. Setov operatic troupe in Kiev. In the season 1894-1895 she sang in Tiflis, in 1895-96 in the St. Petersburg Private opera, and in 1896-1897 in Kharkov. During 1897-1904 she was a leading soprano in Savva Mamontov's Private Russian Opera. In 1904-1911 she became the soloist of the Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersburg.
In 1896 she married the Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel, who created a series of her portraits.
Her roles include:
Gorislava in Ruslan and Lyudmila;,
Tatiana in Eugene Onegin;,
Maria in Mazeppa;,
Volkhova in Sadko;,
Swan Princess in The Tale of Tsar Saltan;,
Snegurochka in The Snow Maiden;,
Marfa in The Tsar's Bride;,
Princess in Kashchey the Immortal;,
Fevronia in Kitezh;,
Margarita in Faust;,
Nedda in Pagliacci;,
Desdemona in Otello, and many others.,
Mikhail Vrubel: Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel - Artist's wife in a stage dress 1898
Mikhail Vrubel: Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel - 1900
Mikhail Vrubel: Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel - as the Swan Princess 1900
Mikhail Vrubel: Portrait of Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel, 1904
"Always so reasonable and sober-minded, Rimsky-Korsakov fell head over heels in love with Nadezhda. Marriage was out of the question, though, because he had a talented and very intelligent wife and growing up kids in St.Petersburg and Nadezhda was married to the outstanding Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel. For many years Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel and her inimitable voice inspired the composer to write a whole constellation of beautiful arias that immortalized Rimsky-Korsakov's name and also that of the woman he loved so much..." (Musical Tales),
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Pимский-Корсаков Н.А., Летопись моей музыкальной жизни, 7 изд., М., 1955 (Russian),
Rimsky-Korsakov, A. N. - Pимскии-Коpсаков А. Н., Н. А. Римский-Корсаков. Жизнь и творчество, вып. 4, М., 1937. с. 117-23, 153-70; (Russian),
Yankovsky, M.. - Янковский М., Н. И. Забела М.- Л., 1953. (Russian)