On October 7th the National Opera and Ballet House in Sofia opened its new season. One of the highlights is the staging of the classical opera by Maestro Georgi Atanassov, “Alcek”, whose premiere 80 years ago turned a disaster. After the non-staged performance of another of Maestro Georgi Atanassov’s operas, “Kossara” in 2010, the opera buffs will now have the chance to enjoy another of his less popular works. The opera has been staged on its original score revived by the original written-hand copies. The credit should go to the young Bulgarian composer and conductor Grigor Palikarov. “I admire the idea that the National Opera and Ballet House should unveil its season with a work by a Bulgarian composer’, he said and added, “I was thrilled to be doing this – working through the archives of the great Bulgarian composer, page by page, bar by bar. “Kossara” is a short opera in five tableaux, while Alcek is a large-scale production, an opera blockbuster, so to say, that has a cast of 15, and all of them but one men. The main event is the christening of the Bulgarians in the 9th century, an act that was not received without opposition by the society of the time. It was a time of struggle between paganism and Christianity. And of course, there is a love triangle. This work proves that Maestro Georgi Atanassov, who had studied under Italian composer Pietro Mascagni, did indeed have talent. His body of work competes with the best of the West European tradition that has been evolving for centuries. Only 22 years after the proclamation of Bulgaria’s independence in 1908, we already had an opera based on an actual historical event. The music is very demanding, it puts a great strain on the choir and the orchestra and is particularly difficult for the soloists, but we have worked a great deal to accomplish the task.”
The libretto was written by Petar Karapetrov, a popular Bulgarian writer in the 1930s and 1940s. Alcek was the leader of the pagan nobility. Angel Hristov performs the part, while young soprano Lyubov Metodieva sings the part of the daughter of the pro-Christian Bulgarian prince, Boris.
In 2010 a crew of sound directors and technicians from the Bulgarian National Radio recorded the non-staged performance of the opera “Kossara” by Maestro Georgi Atanassov, which had stirred the interest of opera buffs in France. Listen next to a fragment from its 1st tableau.
Next we shall hear more about the repertoire of the new season of the National Opera and Ballet House in Sofia from its director, Professor Plamen Kartalov.
“We shall have three openings after that one: “Tosca” and “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Puccini and “Cavalleria rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni. These productions were commissioned by our Japanese agents three years ago. In 2012 the company will have its fifth tour in Japan. We are also working on a revival of our “La Bohème” by Giacomo Puccini for our tour to Modena, Italy where the students of opera diva Raina Kabaivanska will perform. In January 2012 we shall open “Robert the Devil” by Giacomo Meyerbeer, whose works are now very much in demand. We shall have a guest director from France. In March we are going to stage a co-production with the Opera House in Bonn, Germany. Vera Nemirova, a Bulgarian opera director, working abroad, will stage Gaetano Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love”. And finally at the end of the season we are going to perform Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried”, the third installment in his epic cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung”. In June we shall perform in the open-air in the park of the Military Academy in Sofia and in July we are again going to Veliko Turnovo, to stage our productions among the remains of the old medieval capital on Tzarevets hill.”
Listen next to Attila’s air from Verdi’s eponymous opera performed by the basso Orlin Anastassov.
Bulgaria’s world famous soprano Krassimira Stoyanova will present in April 2012 her new CD with recordings of romances by Slavic composers. Listen to Tchaikovsky’s “I Wish I Could Pour into a Single Word”. The recording was made in 200 in Munich, Germany.
At the end of 2011 the National Opera and Ballet House in Sofia will mark the 75th anniversary of the great Bulgarian basso Nikola Ghyuzelev with a performance of Verdi’s “Don Carlos”. We wind up this edition of TOM with Don Carlos and Elizabeth’s duet performed by Nikola Ghyuzelev and Alexandrina Pendachanska.
English version by Radostin Zhelev