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Opera divas to be: Teodora from Bulgaria and Anna-Maria from Cyprus

Teodora Marcheva and Anna-Maria Erodotou
Photo: Diana Tsankova, personal archive

Teodora's first encounter with opera was when she was only nine. The complicated libretto failed to impress her, but when she came home she tried to imitate the singing of the artists while she was in the shower.

At the age of five, Anna-Maria started taking ballet lessons. Pretty soon she found out that dancing just wasn't enough for her, so she started studying the piano, the guitar and... singing. She came across the right people who showed her the way to her destiny.

Teodora from Bulgaria and Anna-Maria from Cyprus - two girls who have a dream of one day singing in the world' greatest opera houses.

Both Teodora Marcheva and Anna-Maria Erodotou recently made their professional debut at the Sofia National Opera House in an adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for children.

At her graduate performance, Teodora was the evil Queen of the Night, while Anna-Maria impersonated her daughter Pamina. After the show, they both received words of praise from the director of the Sofia Opera House and their acting teacher at the National Music Academy, Plamen Kartalov.

"Being an opera singer is different from being an opera buff in the sense that the real magic happens when you perform, Teodora explains why she chose classical singing. - In my opinion, art in general is not of this world and especially music. Opera is a compound medium, in fact the most complex of all artistic media – it combines all kinds of art forms and its dramaturgy is always rooted in philosophy."

Anna-Maria Erodotou

Anna-Maria adds that opera has no boundaries, while music is part of life: "Music inhabits the whole world and is its own thing. It is in the streets, it is at home, you can hear it in nature."

Both young women studied opera singing in the classes of prof. Maria Belcheva and prof. Ivanka Ninova. While Anna-Maria concentrates entirely on opera, Teodora studies piano with prof. Alexander Vasilenko and composition at the theoretical department. She also made her first attempts at pop and jazz singing and even participated in Bulgaria's Got Talent - thus stepping out of her comfort zone and experiencing the unique feeling of being on stage. Teodora and Anna-Maria now have a serious test ahead of them. They have to prove themselves with their talent and prowess and hope that an opera house will extend a hand.

The young opera singer from Cyprus came to the country a few years ago on the recommendation of her teacher, who also studied in Bulgaria. Anna-Maria decided to stay, hoping to start her career here.

"If a person wants to be an opera singer, he or she should never quit, says Anna-Maria. - Every day, when he gets out of bed, he should say to himself - this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I must sing."

Apart from perseverance, Teodora points out, a young opera artist should never turn down a part.

Teodora Marcheva

Teodora, who is blessed with the highest pitched soprano voice - she is a coloratura soprano - dreams of taking on the role of Ophelia in Ambroise Thomas's opera Hamlet.

"As we know, she takes her own life - there's a whole act devoted to that," she says. "The aria has an extremely large range. It requires vocal and acting skill of the highest order."

"I dream of the role of Violetta Valéry from La Traviata," says Anna-Maria. - It's my favorite role because she has a very complex character. She's full of passion, she loves life and Giuseppe Verdi has portrayed all of that very well with his music."

Both Teodora and Anna-Maria cannot imagine life without opera. "We want to be on stage no matter what", they say. And if we were to meet again in ten years and interview them, they would like to be introduced quite simply: "the world-famous opera primas Teodora Marcheva and Anna-Maria Erodotou."

Our heartfelt wish to them!

Editors: Albena Bezovska, Elena Karkalanova

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

Photos: Diana Tsankova, personal archive
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