The Russian soprano, Galina Kovaleva, sang for her audition for the Saratov Sobinov Conservatory, Alabiev's "Nightingale" without accompaniment. She was accepted immediately, even though she could not read music, and graduated in 1959.
While she was still a fourth-year student, Galina Kovaleva was enrolled in the company of the Saratov Opera House and immediately given the role of Marfa in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, which became a signature role for her and remained her favourite. In November 1960 she was invited to Leningrad to perform at the famous Kirov (Mariinsky) Theatre. Success came immediately. She performed leading parts in The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Ruslan and Ludmila, Aida, and Lucia di Lammermoor with, as the critics noted, "captivating ease and naturalness." Kovaleva met her husband Veniamin Fabritsky when he was photographing the Kirov Theatre for a book on architecture.
In 1961 Galina Kovaleva won the Sofia Competition; a year later she took the Grand Prix at a competition in Toulouse. In 1967 she performed successfully at the Montreal Competition. In 1964 she was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the RSFSR, three years later that of People’s Artist, and in 1974 she became a People’s Artist of the USSR. In 1978 she received the State Glinka Prize.
She toured both at home and abroad (Bulgaria, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan), and in 1971 began teaching at the Conservatory, attaining full professorship in 1980. In the middle of the 1980's Galina Kovaleva said goodbye to the theatre. After a farewell concert that included many arias she never had sung on the stage, she concentrated on teaching work. She became ill in 1994 and passed away in early 1995, she was buried at the Serafimovskoe Cemetery.
"Galina Kovaleva possesses a coloratura soprano of such exceptional quality that it can be reckoned one of the voices of the century... The singer displays dazzling technique, unparalleled virtuosity, a brilliant coloratura timbre and a perfect manner of delivery,” the French newspaper La Dépêche wrote in 1963. Other recordings include 3 recitals discs for Melodiya with operatic selections from Aida, Norma, Lucia, Mignon, Manon, Verdi's Otello, Barber of Seville, Lakme, Rigoletto, and La Traviata, and soprano arias from Russian operas.