The European tradition in professional music found its way to Bulgaria after the Liberation from Ottoman domination, when the eager for culture Bulgarians turned opera music into a necessity, even a fashion. In 1890, in the small country of Bulgaria, situated on the crossroad between the East and the West, despite its unstable political and economic situation, an opera theatre was born that became a cradle for talents that gave ground to the world to start speaking of ‘a Bulgarian Opera School’. Drawing on experience from the West European opera and the Russian Opera Theatre, cultivating a taste for the Italian Belcanto and the Russian classical opera, the National Opera and Ballet Theatre propelled its way to highly sophisticated achievements and became the centre of our national music-scenic culture.
Soon after its establishment, the Theatre chose the ensemble method and style of work for the permanent troupe of soloists, choir, orchestra, ballet, technical and production teams that annually gave up to 10 opera and ballet premieres, as well as concert programs. Along with the basic repertoire of titles from the world opera classics, the National Opera Theatre performed works of Bulgarian composers. Many singers made their first steps from the Sofia stage to the European opera centres in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, England, the Czech Republic, Russia, etc. World famous opera stars like Ilka Popova, Todor Masarov, the late Nikolay Ghiaourov (who passed away in 2004), Dimitar Uzunov, Nicola Gyuzelev, Ghena Dimitrova etc. premiered under the baton of the conductors of the National Opera Theatre.
An epitome of the great possibilities of the art of this opera theatre were its performances – a true bouquet of native singing stars that later made their debut on the world opera stages – Darina Takova, Tsvetelina Vassileva, Krassimira Stoyanova, Christina Anghelakova, Stefka Mineva, Kostadin Andreev, Roumen Doykov, Niko Isakov, Dimitar Stanchev, Svetozar Rangelov, Yulian Konstantinov. The Bulgarian spectator, not necessarily being at the La Scala Opera Theatre, Grand Opera or Covent Garden, was able to enjoy performances with the participation of the world-renowned members of the theatre: Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Ghena Dimitrova, Raina Kabaivanska, Alexandrina Milcheva, Boyko Tsvetanov, Kaloudi Kaloudov, Stoyan Popov, Dimitar Petkov, Nicola Gyuzelev. The international prestige of the Opera Theatre was repeatedly confirmed by guest tours in many countries throughout Europe, America and Asia as well as by guest performances in Sofia by world-renowned artists.
In the 30s of the last century, Chaliapin – the titan of the world opera-performing art, sang in Boris Godunov and Knyaz Igor on the stage of the Sofia National Opera Theatre. The audience held its breath with the art of ‘Opera Comique’, the Naples Opera Theatre ‘San Carlo’, the world opera stars Georges Til, Stepanesku Guanga, Elena Nikolai, Lyuba Velich, Renata Scotto, Jose Carreras, Piero Capucilli, Elena Obraszova, Mirella Freni.
The Sofia National Opera Choir progressed remarkably under several outstanding Bulgarian conductors and had great success in the 1930’s and 1940’s with the productions of Prince Igor, Boris Godunov, Sadko, Ivan Susanin, Fidelio, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, II Trovatore, Don Carlos, Aida, Faust and Die Zauberflote as well as Bulgarian operas. This is clear from the numerous press reviews of the period and statements by musicians like Chaliapin, Zinka Kunz, Tito Shipa, Franz Konvitschny, Emil Cooper and Edmondo de Vecci who have either heard the choir or performed with it. The Choir is renowned for its interpretations of difficult musical pieces like Khovamshchina, Boris Godunov, Aida, Carmen, Nabucco, Don Carlos, Turandot, War and Peace, Prince Igor, Eugene Onegin, Macbeth and Verdi’s Requiem. The Choir has toured Europe with great success. It has been praised by Herbert von Karajan and was invited by him to three Salzburg festivals, as well as to make recordings and a concert performance of Verdi’s Requiem in 1984. It received a warm response from critics and audience alike on the Sofia National Opera’s tour in France and Italy.
Without disturbing its creative rhythm, the theatre continues to create new festivities for the audience. The Easter Festival is awaited with great interest. It includes premieres and gala performances with the participation of famous Bulgarian singers and guests from abroad. Christmas Eve at the Opera – a series of specially selected performances for the Christmas holidays and the traditional New Year celebration in the Opera House with a glass of champagne are eagerly expected music feasts. In 2004, the Theatre was host and co-organiser of the ‘Boris Christoff’ Twelfth International Competition for Young Opera Singers. That is how, in spite of the challenges of the hard times, with lots of zeal and strong creative spirit the National Opera and Ballet saves and develops the traditions of the national music-scenic art, managing to keep a vivid link with its most faithful supporter – the AUDIENCE.
THE SOFIA OPERA ON THE EVE OF ITS 100 ANNIVERSARY
In the history of the Bulgarian Opera Art the date 2nd of June 1907 takes an important place. In the newly formed National Theater, in Sofia had been made a concert with opera arias. These arias had been performed by the young Bulgarian opera singers – Konstantin Mihailov-Stoyan, Ivan Vjulpe and his wife Bogdana Ghiuseleva-Vjulpe – students in the Moscow Conservatory they had studied under the tuition of one of the most famous Italian pedagogues and singers K. Everardi and E. Mazetti. The concert had its wide public reaction – the scores materials in the press had been titled ‘Opera War’. There had been great debates whether the Bulgarian Country, 30 years after the liberation from the Turkish Yoke, is ready to encourage the creation of a professional opera theater. From this concert had
started the campaign of the creation of Bulgarian Opera Union, which develops in Professional Bulgarian Opera Theater.
How the collective live in the beginning of the XXI century? The first season of the new director, the conductor Borislav Ivanov has started with the preparation of the George Balanchine’s ballets ‘Who cares?’ and ‘Serenade’, and the opera performances of ‘Otello’ and ‘Rigoletto’. After them has come the premiere of the first National English opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Purcell, the children’s opera ‘Pinochio’ by the Bulgarian composer Alexandar Yosifov, the premiere performances of ‘Young Bulgarian Choreographers’, ‘Madame Butterfly’, ‘Pagliacci’ ‘Cavalleria rusticana. The jubilee concerts of the word-famous Bulgarian singers Anna Tomowa-Sintow – soprano, Aleksandrina Milcheva – mezzo soprano and Nikola Nikolov – tenor, has great success. In the beginning and in the end of the season there had been two tours of the Sofia National Opera and Ballet – in November 2004 in Palma de Mallorka and in July 2005 in the Festival in Solothurn, Switzerland. In the beginning of the second season of the new direction had been given honour to some of the singers who had contributed to the glory of the bulgarian opera school – the mezzo soprano Ilka Popova, the soprano Raina Mihailova, the famous soloist and pedagogue prof. Hristo Brambarov. The one hundred Anniversary of the great storyteller Andersen has been noticed with the premiere of the ballet performance Andersen’s Fairy Tales’, after it come the ballet performances – ‘Metaphysisc – The Meek One – The Riff of Spring’ in corporation with Marinski theater from Sankt Petersburg and Allegro Brigliante’. While the ballet collectiv have its hard rehearsals the opera one has been on a tour in Palma de Mallorka in the beginning of November and some months later has been in Japan, where it had 12 performances of ‘Otello’ and 6 of ‘Rigoletto’, all of them performed in great success. attention to the jubilees of the world-famous bass Nicola Ghiuselev, to the eminent choreographer prof. Petar Lukanov, with the premiere of the ballet “The Goat Horn by the Bulgarian composer Krasimir Kyurkchijski and also to the conductor Borislav Ivanov. In the end of the year the Sofia National Opera and Ballet have received high marks from its guest performing in Taiwan where have been performed ‘Turandot’ and ‘Nabucco’. The traditional Easter festivals and the concerts ‘Pearls of the opera and ballet art’ really have the preference of the public among the repertoire which include about 40 titles – from absolutely unknown works to long ago loved masterpieces of the opera art. In the forthcoming season, besides the premieres, one of the main tasks of our collective is going to be the
preparation of the traditional International Competition for Young Singers ‘Boris Hristioff’ which is traditionally made in June. He is unique because on the third round the competitors perform in a central role in an opera performance. From the First Competition which was in 1961 in Sofia there has come one of the greatest opera stars in the international sphere of the opera art in the last two-thirds of the twentieth century. And after the Competition comes the celebrations concerning the 100 Anniversary of the creation of the first Bulgarian professional opera theater – the Sofia National Opera dated from the first opera fragments presented on the 18th of October 1908 to the premiere of ‘Pagliacci’ on the 5th of June 1909.
The premiere of the famous scene cantata ‘Carmina Burana by Karl Orff was on the 17th of February 2006. In March were the premiere performances of ‘L’Italiana in Algeri’ by Rossini. This title has been performed ten times with two tours in Switzerland. In honor of the 250th Birth Anniversary of Mozart on the 20th of May had been presented the premiere of ‘Die Zauberflote’, financially supported by an Austrian Foundation. In the end of the season 2005/ 2006 have been performed the premieres of the ballets ‘Giselle’ by Adam and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Prokofieff and the opera premiere of ‘Nabucco’ by Verdi. At the end of 2006 have been drawn attention to the jubilees of the world-famous bass Nicola Ghiuselev, to the eminent choreographer prof. Petar Lukanov, with the premiere of the ballet “The Goat Horn by the Bulgarian composer Krasimir Kyurkchijski and also to the conductor Borislav Ivanov.
„… From all productions that I have seen on stage in Sofia until now, Turandot I liked the most – the staging was brilliant, beautiful, modern, without being too modern however, and was more beautiful than the one in Italy…”
Toti Dal Monte, Italy
„… The Bulgarians staged a magnificent show. . . authentic scenes and customs, extraordinary choir …”
Camille Morand, France
„… I saw the premiere of Turandot and I was impressed by the marvelous voices, by the staging that’s both interesting and modern – it unites the new and the authentic…”
Dr. Schubert, RDT
„… And one of the greatest successes of the Sadko production was without doubt the unity of style, achieved in the interpretation. A harmonic combination of various elements, a collective contribution of the conductor, the painter, the director and the whole troupe of singers…”
It is becoming widely known that The National Opera of Sofia is one of the truly great opera companies in the world today. Their productions of Madama Butterfly and Nabucco have been hailed as the most exciting in over a generation. Here is a company with a chorus so excellent that Herbert von Karajan invited it to three Salzburg Festivals in his last years, and has recorded with it. Here is a company with an orchestra dedicated to playing some of the most difficult and beautiful music ever written and making it live for its audiences.
Sony Classical has recorded the six greatest Russian operas in the repertoire with the choir of this company. The company has toured France and Italy with great success giving concert performances of operatic works. Since its inception in 1908, the company has had a continuing commitment to covering as wide a range of styles as it can, including the most challenging of modern scores. In recent times it has increasingly won a reputation for its teamwork. When the great Bulgarian singers now on the international scene – Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Raina Kabaivanska – return, as they have done increasingly since the political situation has changed, they work as part of that team, part of that family. Given the exposure and challenge of making major international recordings for Sony, this company is now ready to take its place in the international arena with the very best.
Because of the strength of its chorus; the range of its work; the striving for communication and solidarity with its audiences; the teamwork that makes even its stars part of an overall ensemble; Patrick Malynn takes pride in bringing to Dublin one of the cultural events of the decade – The National Opera of Sofia.
The company is bringing two contrasted works by the two most popular composers ever to write opera, the two composers who have spoken most directly to the people:
Puccini and Verdi.
Clifton, UK “Productions Limited”
For more than decades now the Sofia National Opera has been building up its international prestige with the performances of Russian operas. It has more than once been guest performances in Paris, Vienna and Naples, in Brussels and Madrid, with ‘Boris Godunov’, ‘Khovanshchina, ‘Prince Igor’ and ‘War and Peace’, and has taken part in international festivals of greatest repute, such as the ‘May festival Music’ in Florence, the festivals in Wiesbaden, Lausanne, Lyons, Athens, Istanbul, precisely with operas like ‘Boris Godunov’, “The Golden Cockerel’ by Rimsky Korsakov, ‘Prince Igor’, ‘Khovanshchina. And has always been recognized as an excellent interpreter of the Russian and Soviet classic operatic music – with the masterly performance of soloists, chorus and orchestra. The musical performance of ‘War and Peace’ is excellent in its entity, both in case of the soloists and the chorus.
Le Monde, Paris
The chorus of the Sofia National Opera is a brilliant one and performs its part (in Verdi’s ‘Requiem’) with a supreme ease.
El Pais, Madrid
The orchestra was a virtuoso one, with brilliant sonority, versatile and organically linked with the stage.
Il Giornale, Italy
The orchestra of The National Opera and Ballet delivers a very compact sound. Their main feature is the excellent instrumental composition, not to mention their brilliant soloists.
Placido Domingo opened the concert with an aria from Puccini’s ‘Girl from the Golden West’ together with the City Choir of Madrid and the orchestra of the Sofia National Opera. 4200 people could not remain seated until the end of the performance. Applause! And more applause!
Los Vos de Galicia, Spain
The performance of ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ can truly be called a special event for the stage of Solingen.
Solingen Morgenpost, Germany
A triumph of the tour of Sofia National Opera and Ballet in Germany and Switzerland! The audience was overwhelmed with the performance. Spontaneous applause exploded every 5-10 minutes.
Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe
The soloist ensemble is remarkable. Strong voices and technically versatile soloists have rarely been heard in Ludwigshafen lately.
We are enchanted with the stage setting, with the brilliant and original direction, with the extraordinary orchestra and choir.
Machey Figas, Director, IV Opera Festival, Poland
The tour of the National Opera in Japan is a very important event. An exceptional cast, among the best in the world.
Tamisuka Watanaki, Chairman of the Japanese Parliament
I like very much the Bulgarian voices. I have visited Sofia in the past and have listened to many performances there. I decided to present the Sofia Opera to the Japanese audience. Now, when the Sofia Opera is touring Japan, I am very happy because of the nice reactions of the spectators.
Prof. Yoshiuki Nagatake
I know Bulgaria mostly for its confitures, honey and yoghurt, but now, thanks to the Sofia National Opera, we all witnessed the superior Bulgarian spiritual culture. I would like to these superb artists to visit again Japan, so as to please us with their great art. These two opera-works which you presented in Japan are wonderful.
Matsuki Katatiri, Vice-president of Kansai TV, Osaka
Every evening after the performance, the Japan admirers were waiting for the Bulgarian actors in order to have autography by them. The most enthusiastic opera fans visited the plays of National Opera several times and shared their admiration for the performance of the whole company. As a sign of exceptional respect, the Japan audience applauded standing the Bulgarian actors in the course of 15 minutes after the end of each play. The Sofia National Opera and Ballet was invited in Japan for a fourth tour. The success of the National Opera should be impossible without perfect work of all scenic services and technical director Simeon Georgiev. They managed to adapt both plays to different stages of the enormous Japan houses.
The Sofia National Opera and Ballet again reaped laurels at one European stage. These days the company toured for the third time in ‘Classic Opean air’ Festival held on Solothurn, Switzerland since 15 years. According to the ‘Festivals’ international magazine, it is considered as one of 7 most prestigious summer musical events in Europe. During eight evenings, the Bulgarian singers performed seven different musical plays and offered to the audience 4 hourly gala-performance consisting of selected opera masterpieces. The Swiss critics were particularly sympathetic to the bass Svetozar Rangelov, who was determined as ‘the star of the evening’ because of his bright performance of Mephistopheles from the opera ‘Faust’. The world-famous tenor Boiko Tzvetanov overwhelmed the audience in Solothurn. During the performance of Aida he replaced urgently without any preparation Christian Johanson who felt ill suddenly.
Exclusively successful performance of the Bulgarian actors immediately ensured a contract for new star-performance of the National Opera Sofia in Switzerland in 2006.
The play of ‘Who cares’ was received with great interests and the endless applause for the performing of Diliana Nikiforova, Yassen Valchanov, Sara-Nora Krasteva, Darina Bedeva, Rossen Kanev and Theodor Vodeni-charov were a real proof for the enormous admiration for the talent of Bulgarian actors. ‘Ghetto’ shaped the final impression of Serbian audience. The final of the attractive ballet was played few times under the prolonged applause of the audience. It merits to be mentioned the competent evaluation of Milorad Miskovich, one of world-recognized stars of Serbian ballet and present honored president of Council for Dance within the UNESCO. After the end of ‘Who cares’ he said that he is astonished by the Bulgarian performers and having in mind his good knowledge of Balanchine’s style, he saw the real transforming on the stage of expressiveness, movement and performance that are typical for the choreographer. He was impressed by the presence of so many individuals in the company as well as by the high professional level of the female company. The staging of ‘Ghetto’ on Mario Piaza choreography is a unique product that could successfully conquer the world in this performance.
The National Ballet made a conquest of Belgrad
‘Otello’ strung out among the most brilliant plays of the Sofia National Opera and Ballet. The triumph of the play during the last tour to Japan was not occasional. The full house for the first play after the tour could be used as an indicator for the continued interest to the most dramatic piecework of Verdi. The splendid scenery and 160 costumes consistent with the authentic historical period, revive again Shakespeare’s works. There is nothing occasional also in the selection of soloists. For Kos-tadin Andreev, the role of Otello is very special. Throughout the years it has became his business card. His Otello was reproduced through hurricane of emotions stopping the breath of the audience. Niko Issakov in the role of Yago reproduced skillfully the contradictory feelings agitating his soul. Desdemona was performed by the opera-prima Sofia Ivanova. Her Desdemona is tender and frighting at the same time. Verdi imagined namely such character.
The new staging of Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ was the last premiere of the National Opera and Ballet for the season, who took place on the 18th of February. It will be presented in Japan.
One of most loved Verdi’s operas are coming back on the stage of the Sofia National Opera and Ballet created by the creative imagination of the producer Plamen Kartaloff, the stage manager Lubomir Yordanov, the costume designer Elena Ivanova under the conductorship of Borislav Ivanov. Maestro Borislav Ivanov skillfully carries on the musical and scenic dialogue, making with the orchestra dynamics of contrast dramaturgy. The whole company of the Sofia National Opera and Ballet goes out of the rut of static play and suggests the dialogue demanded with the audience of today.
‘Diplomatic Review’, Bulgaria
Dynamism, colors and non-standard producer’s solutions: this was the spectator’s impression from ‘Rigoletto’ of Verdi, the new premiere of the National Opera of Sofia with producer Plamen Kartaloff. ‘Rigoletto’ is a play with clear concept of producer work, staging and performers. The main staging principle is: an escape from banal opera properties.
‘Rigoletto’ of the Sofia National Opera and Ballet is entirely sounded and active performance, made up to the standard of the contemporary stylistic of the opera genre. Rigoletto of Alexandar Krunev is a remarkable achievement for this baritone. The multifarious character of the debauched duke was presented by Rumen Doykov emotionally and with lucid vocal part with moments which commit to memory. Svetozar Rangelov as Sparafuchile is active and expressive. His melodious bass voice is richness for each opera staff. Dimiter Stanchev (Monterone), Stefka Mineva (Giovanna), Stoil Georgiev (Cheprano), Madalena of Elena Tchavdarova are in absolute synchronous with the requirements and adroitly entered the dramatic act.
The orchestra of The Sofia National Opera and Ballet under the conductorship of Borislav Ivanov is an excellent commentator of drama and has a remarkable expression. The solos of brass (hautboy, flute, clarinets) as well as the rest of group merit to be specially mentioned. The solid sound of string where the first violins were almost ‘crying’ so heart-rend-ingly, that we have a feeling that they hold the field with vocal expressiv-ity of soloist company. The dramatic strength and expressiveness of wind, remarkable efficiency of bass and solo in the Rigoletto monologue were the bright achievements of the orchestra. The male chorus (conductor Hristo Kazandjiev) marks its expressive success with its perfect melodiousness rich in timbre and convincing scenic presence.
The play was produced with many love and creative unanimity. It is obvious that Boris Spasov, Radostin Chomakov and Petko Bonev had arranged the puzzle of Purcell, putting exactly into place each phrase, recitative, chorus, each episode according to the requirements of musical, actor and decorative interpretation. On first place I would like to mention the excellent work with singers and musicians carried out by the conductor Boris Spasov. The instrumental accompaniment sounded clearly, in precise ensemble, with refined sound. It is clear that he inspired into the singers the principles and approaches of baroque musical interpretation. For me it was a real pleasure to watch how Boris Spasov conducted the play with such certitude and enthusiasm. It is rear to watch a conductor so sincere in his selflessness! As well as musician with culture and temperament. Tzvetana Bandalovska entered into the character of Dido and into the nature of the music. The young but experienced singer achieved the emotional culminations and dramatic effect of her part. Next to her was Elena Stoyanova: Wonderful Belinda, performed with shades of feeling, dynamics and intensity that are typical for the actress.
‘Kultura’, Bulgaria (for ‘Dido and Aeneas’)
The musical drama is graded successfully in direction of culmination achieving and final denouement. The exactly assigned tasks to the actors are motivating for the creation of real characters that impact on audience. Bandalovska in Chio Chio San with her extremely ability and artistic performance of experience, achieves a unity of vocal and scenic character, which presence detailed in each moment puts the audience in tears. Alexander Krunev as Sharpies is another confirmation of successful development of this baritone, marked by him in the recent time (Rigoletto). In his performance could be noticed a lot of heartiness and compassion while its vocal emission was suitable for the character.
‘Duma, Bulgaria (for ‘Madame Butterfly’)
If someone wants to hear contemporary music, let him hear a work of Alexander Yosifov. Melody, rhythm, without any sign of the last premiere of the National Opera and Ballet, ‘Pinochio’, intended for rising generation audience was equally attractive for children and their adult companions.
The scene version of ‘Carmina Burana’ on the stage of the National Opera and Ballet has been thought to have its massive suggestion with theatre full of music, dance, fine art, all of them absolutely equal in the whole appearance of the performance, in wich alternate real and fantastic scenes, have been initiated fabulous heroes – amours, The Fortune, April etc., which support the main idea of the production. About 180 people are on the stage. With the orchestra the participants in the performance amount to 250. In the performance are engaged and almost all of the ballet dancers of the Ballet Company of the National Opera and Ballet.
Mr. Jan Jeanotti, world-famous Swiss theater producer, is presenting in the National Opera and Ballet of Sofia its vision of one of the most renowned Rossini comic operas: ‘L’Italiana in Algeri’. The average age of singers is about 30. Ever since their first appearance at the stage it is clear why the producer gave his preference to them amongst the other singers participating in the casting. The play has impressing costumes and scenery mastered by scene-painter Nikola Toromanov, young maker with brilliant career in Bulgaria and abroad.
With a great mastery and engrossing dance art has been made the efficiency of the plastic forms both in the main characters and the ensemble interpretation of the groups from the first and the second act. The enormous good technique, the synchronous ensemble and the stylistic precision fascinate. The strongest point of the new performance is the truly revealed spiritual potential of the romantic masterpiece.
Under the baton of Boris Spasov, the orchestra achieved a ‘trembling flow’ of sound that is distinctive of Adam’s ballet music.
The costumes of Tzvetanka Petkova – Stoynova are classical and very suitable. The remarkable performing of Diliana Nikiforova as Giselle and Rossen Kanev as Albert was the real event of this evening. Each company could be proud with such actors. Both are dancing in perfect synchrony with marvelous understanding of choreographic text, psychological consistence and inspiring musicality.
‘Kultura’, Bulgaria (for ‘Giselle’)
‘Giselle’ is a fairy scene of beautiful costumes and impressive staging. After the end of this play, the audience left the house definitively more happy and persuaded that there are never ending stories.
Vessa Tonova with her brilliant technique and preciseness and deep sensuality performed to us a magnificent Juliet: tender and dedicated in her love to Romeo (Rossen Kanev), but at the same time strong fighter for her human dignity and right of choice. Each elite ballet company all over the world could be proud with our prima! Alexander Alexandrov, gifted with excellent figure, exclusively dynamic and exact in his explosive leaps and pirouettes, performed brightly the role of Mercucio. Coming back form Boston, he entered in the repetition hall straightly from the plane…
The audience regretted that Mercucio and Thibald died in duels in second act. The duel between them was a firework of complex leaps and pirouettes (Mercuccio – Alexandrov, Thibald – Yassen Valchanov). The magnificent costumes of the designer Tzvetanka Petkova – Stoynova delighted the audience.
‘Sedem’, Bulgaria (for ‘Romeo and Juliet’)
The cream of business, diplomacy and art circles club together in the National Opera and Ballet of Sofia for the first performance of ‘Die Zauberflüte’. The spectacular staging done by Austrian staging team, is devoted to 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth. In such a way Bulgaria join the world program for celebration of the jubilee of one of the most prominent genius in the human history.
‘Nabucco’ – This early production of the composer is popular not only with its choirs and ensembles, but also with its difficult solo parts, for which it is really difficult to find the suitable voices. The National Opera Theater has this potential – a production team and artists who have strong abilities to go through this piece of art… From a musical point of view there is a balance in the sounding of the orchestra and perfect made vocal ensembles – indisputable merit of the conductor Borislav Ivanov. I would especially like to note the successful presenting of the choir of the National Opera with chorus master – Mr. Hristo Kazandjiev, the functional and impressive scenography of Boris Stoinov, the costumes made by Boyanka Chomakova and all this directed by Kuzman Popov with really good made light effects and unostentatious mise-en-scene decisions in the different acts… Of course the impression would not have been the same if there weren’t the great soloists in the both casts with their fantastic vocal and artistic qualities. Shortly, in the principal characters performed Gabriela Georgieva and Bayasgalan Dashniam (Abigail), Alexander Krunev and Peter Danailov (Nabucco), Svetozar Rangelov (Zaharia), Elena Tchavdarova-Issa and Andreana Nikolova (Fenena), Orlin Goranov and Tzvetan Tzvetkov (Izmael), and also Angel Hristov, Stoil Georgiev, Marcho Apostolov, Plamen Papazikov, Silvana Pruvcheva and Ludmila Hadjieva.
The world premiere of the opera ‘Destiny for two’ is worth seeing, especially from the lovers of the opera art, because of some reasons. First of all it is the first Bulgarian opera (director Pavel Gerdjikov, designer Radostin Chomakov) put on stage since approximately two decades. Second, the music of the composer Alexander Yosifov is full of emotion and melody. Third, because of the strong dramatic plot from the middle of the twentieth century, related the story about Joshinori Maeda, president of the Japanese TV Company ‘NHK’ and a Bulgarian woman from the city of Plovdiv – Anastasia. Forth, one of the librettists has been many years a diplomat and ambassador in Japan – Todor Dichev and he knew Maeda and Anastasia and has written their story in his book in Japanese A diplomat in Japan’.
A real triumph of the dance art, which receive a storm of applause was the premiere of ‘The Goat Horn’ by Krasimir Kyurkchijski. The fascinating story of Nikolai Haitov, on which base the composer has made its great piece of music, inspired prof. Lukanov to create one both national and modern performance. These three elements (and also the great scenography of Ivan Jordanov) made this performance a real ballet masterpiece. The present production is the third one made by prof. Petar Lukanov. The premiere in 1983 become a reason this ballet to be named ‘an allegory of the Bulgarian history’. The theme, concerning the violence, which returns as a boomerang and the tragedy of Kara Ivan, who would like to transform the female nature of his daughter Maria are brightly protected by the expressive music of Kyurkchijski. And also from the classical, but interweaved with folklore elements and modern means of expression in the choreography of prof. Petar Lukanov.