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Nayden Todorov: The young Bulgarian generation does miracles

Pleven hosted third edition of Gena Dimitrova music contest for young opera singers

Plamena Girginova and Mihail Mihaylov
Photo: Avgustina Serafimova

Nearly thirty young and talented people from six countries took part at the third edition of Gena Dimitrova music contest for young opera singers held in the town of Pleven (Central North Bulgaria). Created by Gena Dimitrova herself the music contest was restored after it was interrupted for ten years.

I am happy with the restoration of the music contest for young opera singers, the Director of the Pleven Philharmonic and main organizer of the event Lyubomir Dyakovski told Radio Bulgaria. These young artists who were applauded by the audience so heartily will soon step on the big music stages. We are thankful to the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and Pleven Municipality for the huge support. The event was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Principal conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic Nayden Todorov chaired the jury and conducted the gala concert. Here is what he told Radio Bulgaria:

This is the next generation young opera singers. I am happy that thanks to this music contest we have the opportunity to discover and support these artists. Gena Dimitrova was a great opera singer. People like her are born once in a thousand years. I am very happy that a music contest was named after her, because it would help us keep her memory alive. I am happy to see talented young singers who will continue her deed.

The renowned opera singer Darina Takova was also a member of the jury at the Gena Dimitrova contest. She is a chairperson of Darina Takova foundation established to support young opera talents. We worked in full consensus, Mrs Takova says. We treated everyone equally and gave special awards to the participants. This was a happy contest with a happy end and happy young people. I was a member of the jury at the second edition of Gena Dimitrova contest held ten years ago. The winners of the second edition are now on the opera stages and I am sure that they are proud with the fact that this music contest is part of their biographies.

One of Bulgaria’s most celebrated tenors Maestro Kaludi Kaludov noted: It was a difficult contest. Thirteen years ago Gena decided to make a national contest, but it is good that foreign nationals also took part in it. I am sure that in two years the number of opera talents attending this music contest will increase.

Adrian Hollaender from Austria was the only foreign member of the jury. He owns an impresario agency and inherited his position from his father (Ioan Holender) who was a longtime Director of the Vienna State Opera:

All award winners and winners of special prizes sang on the gala concert. Here is what Dumba Tatenda who is the best foreign performer of Bulgarian song told Radio Bulgaria:

Mohamed Elsayed from Tunisia shared the third prize with the Bulgarian singer Kristian Hristov who studies at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum in Salzburg. Seven months ago we met you with young Bulgarian talent Mihail Mihaylov (who studies at the National Academy of Music) who won the first prize of the International Chamber Song Competition Pancho Vladigerov in Shumen. Mihail is the undisputed winner in the men’s category at the Gena Dimitrova contest for young opera singers.

This is my first prize from an opera contest. Nowadays it is difficult to find yourself. That is why I don’t have any idols and try to work for my personal improvement. I sang with great pleasure at the gala concert and I believe that the audience appreciated it. This music awards gives me the confidence and the hope that I am on the right path.

Plamena Girginova who also studies at the National Academy of Music received first prize as well. She was voted the best performer of Bulgarian song. Alexandrina Mihaylova and Svetlana Ivanova won second prize and Victoria Pigova won the third prize at Gena Dimitrova contest. Gloria Kaneva and Katarina Radovanovic from Serbia also received awards and Katarzyna Sigula from Poland and Anita Shishkova (Bulgaria) won free master classes.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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