INTRIGUING PREMIERES AND OUTSTANDING ANNIVERSARIES IN THE 50th EDITION OF THE FESTIVAL OF THE OPERA AND BALLET ARTS – STARA ZAGORA 2019
This year, the Festival of the Opera and Ballet Arts (FOBA) – Stara Zagora will celebrate its 50th edition. The first specialized forum for opera and ballet in Bulgaria was founded in 1967 as December Music Evenings, and in 1973 it was renamed as Festival of the Opera and Ballet Arts. From 1974 to 1989, the National Review of the Opera and Ballet Arts was held within its framework. The social changes after 1989 and the fire in the Opera building in 1991 caused three interruptions of the Festival in 1990, 2010 and 2013.
The 50th edition of the Festival, organized by the Stara Zagora Opera and the Stara Zagora Municipality will be held from 22 November to 7 December 2019. The program of the Festival this year impresses with the selection of unique spectacles and rarely performed opera works, opera and ballet premieres, the celebration of hallmark anniversaries for the music life in Bulgaria and the world, remarkable international participation, attractive accompanying events, exhibitions and meetings with the audiences.
The official opening of the Festival of the Opera and Ballet Arts is on 22 November with the grandioso opera “L’Africaine” by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The spectacle is a coproduction by the Stara Zagora Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Director of the production is Vera Nemirova – one of the most impressive names in the modern opera stage productions in Europe. So far, in the history of the Bulgarian opera theater, “L’Africaine” has not been staged in Bulgaria. The so-called “grand opera” – which was established on the stage of the French music theater in the 20s – 40s of 19th century, reached its unique height in the works of Meyerbeer. The technical parameters of the stage of the Stara Zagora State Opera allow the realization of an adaptation of the created scenography and equipment of the spectacle. Part of the staging team of the Deutsche Oper take part in the realization of the project beside Vera Nemirova. Conductor of the spectacle is the chief conductor of the Stara Zagora Opera Ivaylo Krinchev. Guest-performer in the role of Vasco de Gama is the Romanian tenor Daniel Magdal, who was in the soloist ensemble of the spectacle of Deutsche Oper in 2015.
Special attention has been paid to the 50-year-long stage activity of the opera prima Stefka Mineva . On 30 November, in her honor, under the baton of Vladimir Boshnakov , will sing Tsvetelina Vasileva, Mariya Belcheva, Tatyana Shivarova, Sanja Anastasia , Kaludi Kaludov, Veselin Mihaylov, Niko Isakov and Aleksandar Krunev. A close meeting of the audience with Stefka Mineva will be held immediately before the celebratory concert. At the meeting with the audience, there will be projected unique selected parts from the Golden Fund of the Bulgarian National Television. With an assessment of the past is also the premiere of the ballet spectacle “Chopiniana”, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the ballet art in Stara Zagora. “Chopiniana” will be staged by the prima-ballerina of the Stara Zagora Ballet and honorary citizen of Stara Zagora Snezhana Deskova.
Three other anniversaries are in the focus of this year’s program. The 120 years since the birth of Pancho Vladigerov will be marked by an exhibition of the House-Museum “Pancho Vladigerov” and a concert by the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the National Music Academy „Pancho Vladigerov” with conductor Grigor Palikarov on 29 November. With reverence and respect for the founder of FOBA – conductor Dimitar Dimitrov (1929 – 1999) – we will recall his great contribution to the Bulgarian music culture on 1 December with the projection of the spectacle of the opera “Nabucco” by Giuseppe Verdi – a TV production from the Fund of the BNT (1983). A special event on 3 December, with the presentation of a book and a documentary film, is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the “builders” of the Bulgarian opera theaters and symphony orchestras Rouslan Raichev.
In the last years, the Festival has maintained a regular international participation as well, with the presentation of unknown or rarely performed titles in Bulgaria. In 2017, the New Belgrade Opera guest-performed ”L’Orfeo” by Monteverdi. In 2018 the National Opera and Ballet of North Macedonia – Skopje guest-performed “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini. This year two ensembles will guest-perform at the Festival: Opera Baltic from Gdansk will present the rarely performed work ”Thais” by Massenet on 27 November under the baton of Brazilian conductor Jose Maria Florencio. In the leading roles, the spectators will see Besa Llugiqi /Kosovo/, Marcin Bronikowski, Ivaylo Mihaylov. The National Orchestra of the Conservatories of Italy on 28 November will perform a concert program whose accent are fragments from relatively unpopular Italian operas. The concert will be conducted by Alessandro Pinzauti.
The newest spectacle of the opera “Falstaff” by Verdi of the Plovdiv State Opera will be the finishing accord of the festival days and evenings on 7 December under the baton of the eminent Bulgarian conductor with a respectable international career Pavel Balev, with the special participation of the world renowned opera singers Kiril Manolov and Mariana Pencheva .