The true story of Hristina Morfova


Hristina Morfova was one of the foremost European singers in the early 20 c. Born in the southern Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora and educated in the Paris Conservatory, the operatic diva began her career abroad. In 1915 she joined the Bulgarian Operatic Society, the forerunner of the Sofia Opera House. Her repertoire went across a few main parts in operas by Verdi, Puccini, Gounod etc. Her beautiful voice boasted a wide vocal range allowing her to present with success both soprano and mezzo soprano parts. She was the first Bulgarian opera singer who organized summer courses for young talents. According to most sources Hristina Morfova was born on 24 April 1889, so in 2014 we mark her birth anniversary. Some recently discovered documents however quote a different year of birth, 1887. More from librarian Snezhana Marinova from Zahari Knyazheski Regional Library in Stara Zagora.

Снимка„Hristina Morfova’s name is deeply connected with her home town, and we regularly mark her birth anniversary. In 2014 the celebrations are greater than before, as the National School for Music and Stage Arts named after her turns 40 years, and Zahari Knyazheski Regional Libraryturns 60. We have incorporated all anniversaries into the same program, because they often work together. Recently, we held the festival, European Music Tradition and the Young Talents that went with a great success. The public has shown strong interest in the book The True Story of Hristina Morfova by Rumyana Letcheva. The book had presentations in Sofia and Stara Zagora. We are proud that this library owns an original score with an autograph of the great singer. It was donated in 1926 by another Stara Zagora resident, musician Todor Pandev. We also keep here an authentic photo of Hristina Morfova and Lyudmila Prokopova taken in the opera diva’s Prague apartment.”

Mrs. Marinova also told us about a series of concerts in the days around 24 April, the birthday of HristinaMorfova. On three consecutive nights Stara Zagora audiences applauded students and teachers from the city’s Music School.

The memories about talented and fascinating Hristina Morfova have for years been the focus of professional  interest for journalist Rumyana Letcheva– the author of the film and a book dedicated to the great singer.

„She has impressed me with her big, unique voice and with the fact that she launched a glamorous European career in the early 20 c. Her talent compares her to Caruso and Chaliapin.Music reviewers in France, Britain, Austria and the Czech Republic wrote praising reviews for her art. In the meantime, however, her life in Bulgaria that she loved sincerely was linked to a string of disappointments. Morfova fell prey to envy, to organized mediocrity but this never estranged her from her home country. She was a person of great moral integrity, one with an independent spirit. Ihavefoundfivedifferentdocumentsthatattesttothatshewasactuallybornin1887 – two years earlier that previously known. We have also published for the first time her correspondence with her husband Dr Luben Lukash and between him and her first teacher Dimitar Mihalchev. We have also published some details from the coverage of her tour in Moscow.”

The great singer is remembered not only in Srtara Zagora. Months before the Bulgarian premiere of The True Story of HristinaMorfova the author presented her book in Prague and Vienna. „I was absolutely amazed to see packed halls during those events. People there remember and love her”, concludes Rumyana Letcheva.

English version: Daniela Konstantinova

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