THE FESTIVAL OF THE OPERA AND BALLET ARTS IN STARA ZAGORA WITH ITS FIFTY FIRST EDITION
From 26 November to 10 December Stara Zagora is the capital of the opera and ballet with premieres, guest performances, master classes, books and exhibitions
We should not forget
The Festival of the Opera and Ballet Arts *FOBA* – Stara Zagora is the first specialized forum for opera and ballet in Bulgaria. It was created in 1967 as December Music Evenings, and in 1973 it was re-named as Festival of the Opera and Ballet Arts. From 1974 to 1989 within its framework there was held the National Review of the Opera and Ballet arts. The social changes after 1989 and the fire in 1991 led to three interruptions in 1990, 2010 and 2013.
We should know
It is already a second year when the organizers of the Festival are faced with the complex challenge of Covid 19. And if in 2020 the festival edition was cancelled at the last moment, now its holding is guaranteed by the clearly defined regulations for access to the hall of the Stara Zagora Opera. The audiences will be allowed to enter after showing a certificate of vaccination. The admirers of the opera and ballet, who are not vaccinated have the opportunity to get a free anti-genetic test. Its validity is 48 hours. The spectators who show a certificate of a PCR test, made up to 72 hours before the event, will also be allowed into the hall.
With masks in the hall and on stage
The opening of the Festival is on 26 and 27 November is with three premiere spectacles of Verdi’s masterpiece “Un ballo in maschera”. The director Slavcho Nikolov approaches with respect and dedication the beneficial creative task of one of the most mature works by the great law-determiner in the opera art.
The artist of the production Catalin Ionescu-Arbore adds that he is focused on the mysterious and secret love between Amelia and Richard and the meeting with Ulrica. The gilded masks and ornaments are combined with brightly colored ceramic fragments and large and long feathers. All of them are put on red carpets, the only colorq which shines in the darkness of time and space. In reality, most periods of our lives are covered with imaginary masks in order to protect us against possible disasters. And the colors always tell us the story.
The premiere is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Evdokiya Zdravkova-Horozova, who left a bright trace in the history of the opera theaters in Ruse and Stara Zagora.
“My Wagner” with acd. Plamen Kartalov and the music critic Klaus Billand
On 27 November, at 18.00, in the lobby of Opera Hall is the presentation of the book “My Wagner” of the pulishing house “Zahariy Stoyanov” by Acad. Plamen Kartalov. The author presents his ten-year-long experience in the realization of one of the most impressive titles in the world opera classics: the tetralogy “The Ring of Nibelung”, followed by “Tristan and Isolde”, “Parsifal”. The created productions are among the opera events with international dimensions in the latest history of the Sofia Opera and Ballet.
The realization of the grand project contributes to the creative growth of dozens of Bulgarian singers and instrumentalists. The edition will be presented by the famous Austrian music critic and insightful interpreter of the works by Richard wagner and Richard Strauss, Klaus Billand. There will be presented video fragments from the spectacles. The organizers will provide cabin translation from German.
The World famous opera prima Vesselina Kazarova with an international master class
From 29 November to 10 December, the world famous opera soprano Vesselina Kazarova will conduct for the third time in her native city of Stara Zagora a master vocal class. There are confirmation of participation by young opera singers from Bulgaria, Spain, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
On 10 december, “Voices from the Future” will be presented at the festival-closing gala concert on the stage of the Opera to the accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Stara Zagora State Opera under the baton of Viktor Krumov.
The great tenor Kaludi Kaludov as an artist
The Sunday afternoon on 28 November is dedicated to the visual arts through the eyes of one of the signature Bulgarian Opera performers of the last four decades. In this connection, the curator of the exhibition Gendoni says:”the graphics of Kaludi Kaludov are like little gems reflecting the inner light of a universal artist. With their perfection they remind us of the etchings by great Dutch painters of 17th century. The nature fragments reveal a sensual contemplation and give the effect of elegy sonatas, played by an invisible Baroque orchestra.”
At the event, with the personal presence of the author, the presenter Miglena Yovcheva will challenge him to not only tell of his unusual amploa, but also award his admirers with a special musical greeting.
The graceful song cycle by Schubert and Muller “Winter Journey” for the first time in Stara Zagora
On 1 December, for the first time in Stara Zagora, bass Ivaylo Dzhurov and pianist Denitsa Petrova will present one of the climaxes of the vocal aesthetic music – “Winterreise” (“Winter Journey”) to music by Franz Schubert and lyrics by Wilhelm Müller. This is the last big vocal opus by Schubert.
The storyline here is a relative notion: there is no intrigue, culmination, finale in the commonly accepted sense; it is rather a constant development of the primal soul pain, a dramatic monologue of the poet, whose love was broken, his feelings were swallowed by the rude practicality of reality.
A memory about Petko Staynov
This year marks 125 years since the birth of the great Bulgarian composer. On 2 December, at 18.00, together with Foundation Petko Staynov, on a special evening there will be presented his significant contribution to the Bulgarian music culture. A special accent will be put on the facsimiles of the originals of his most famous work “Thracian Dances”, as well as on his symphonic poem “Thrace”, for whose ballet version, staged in 1943, as a witness is a color photo of the water-color esquisses of its decor by Dechko Uzunov. It also involves the activity of Petko Staynov as a director of the Sofia Opera and founder of the partnership of the Bulgarian componists “Contemporary Music”. A significant part of state awards and gramophone plates of his works is also exhibited.
The film “120 Years Petko Staynov”, produced by: “EDITA GROUP” Ltd – Aneliya Dosheva, to scenario by Elisaveta Valchinova-Chendova, cameraman Mihail Georgiev, presents his unique creative and personal destiny. The film includes architect Stefan Staynov, son of the composer, Plamen Dzhurov, Teodora Pavlovich, Viktor Chuchkov and other witnesses of the creative road of the composer.
Director Vera Nemirova and the production of the Varna Opera “Countess Maritza”
Vera Nemirova dedicates this title to her father, director, Evgeni Nemirov /1916-1981/ and her mother – opera singer Sonya Nemirova /1941-2021/, who debuted in 1070 in Varna in the production by her future husband in the leading role. “Countess Maritza” by Imre Calman marks also the beginning of the brilliant director career of Vera Nemirova in Volksoper, Vienna in 2002.
Her interpretation, which the festival audiences will see on 3 December is unusual, but also extremely topical. The action is taken from a dilapidated manson, where according to the libretto the action takes place, to the theater. Her Countess Maritza is a star, who has made her name on big world stages, comes to the declining theater of her native city in order to revive it. A special tinge to the action is created by the self-made musicians from the ensemble Gypsy Brass Band /Angel Tichaliev/.
The opera divas of Bellini, Verdi and Puccini in a dance spectacle by Arabesque Ballet
On 4 December, there will be presented one of the last productions of Arabesque Ballet to the idea and choreography by Mariyana Krancheva, uniting four of the most popular operas which have ever been created – “Norma”, “Tosca”, “La traviata” and “Madama Butterfly”.
What connects them is the choice and the destinies of the main heroines and the transformation of these heroines into a symbol of female dedication: Madama Butterfly, Violetta from “La traviata”, Tosca and Norma.
The Stara Zagora Opera in a book by Rumyana Apostolova
On 5 December, on the sunday afternoon, is the premiere of the book by Rumyana Apostolova /1947-2001/ “The First Out-of-the-Capital Opera Theater”. Although the manuscript is from the middle of 1980s, its release is as late as now. Rumyana Apostolova is remembered not only in Srata Zagora with her authorship of numerous publications – books, studia, and articles, dedicated to the opera art. The author presents in an intriguing way personal conversations with the people who created and contributed to the impressive created biography of the first out-of-the-capital opera theater in Stara Zagora. In the book, there is an in-depth look of the audiences, whose loyalty to the arts makes possible the glorious musical traditions of the city.
The presentation of the book will be accompanied by a projection of unique videos, kept by the long-time director and managing director of the Opera Theater in Stara Zagora Rumen Neykov.
The dance mystery “Pilate’s Dream” based on the immortal novel “Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov on 8 December
Composer Stefan Dimitrov, the choreographer with international fame Vasiliy Medvedev, and the troupe of the Stara Zagora State Opera unite their creative potential for the realization of a large-scale production, whose premiere was on 16 October in Hall 1 of NPC.
The theme of the spectacle is inspired by the novel by mihail bulgakov “Master and Margarita”. On this base, a surrealistic atmosphere is revealed the basic elements of the story are crystalised: the titles of the two acts – “Lux Aeterna” /Eternal Light/ and “Misericodia Pro nobis” /Mercy for Us/ – lead to associations with other literary classics like “Faust” by Geothe for example, and place the work in the context of the European musical heritage. The atmosphere in the novel by Bulgakov is re-created in the language of our modern world. The bright melodious interpretation embodies the multi-faceted ideas of good and evil, light and darkness, and the roots of these powers.
100 Years National Music Academy “Pancho Vladigerov” with a discussion, an exhibition and a concert
The last day of the festival, 10 December, is dedicated to the jubilee of the first music high school in Bulgaria.
In the large conference room of the Stara Zagora Municipality at 13.00 is the discussion “Musical and Performing Arts Today – modern projections in the education, creative works and career development of the performers”.
At 18.00, in the lobby of the Opera is the opening of the exhibition “The Music Memory of Bulgaria – Fame and Traditions”, and at 19.00 is the festival-closing concert “Voices from the Future” of the participants in the master class of Vesselina Kazarova. The program is with special participation of the leader among Bulgarian conductors, Borislav Ivanov, and his 90th anniversary will be celebrated.