Ramona Tullumani: I sang at the canonization of Mother Teresa and she blessed me

Violetta from the opera “La traviata” – Tirana Opera and Ballet Theatre, September 2014

I am Violetta, who comes from Albania, but I don’t forget my Bulgarian roots

The soprano Ramona Tullumani from Albania likes to sing at the Sofia Opera, because she esteems the people and the work in our first opera theatre and because she has Bulgarian roots. Her great-grandfather Georgi Lilov was a construction engineer and was helping architect Lazar Parashkevov by the construction of the Sofia Opera. In 1963, Nikoleta Lilova, daughter of Georgi Lilov, Ramona’s grandmother, married the Albanian Ramiz Kovaçi. At that time, Mr. Kovaçi was studying opera singing by Prof. Hristo Brambarov. After his graduation, he departed with his wife to Tirana, Albania. 

Ramiz Kovaçi is the best known baritone in Albania. He was awarded the title National artist. He is laureate of many awards. Ramona Tullumani was born in the family of artists, which means, like she declares, that her fate was predestined to be connected with art. “My first idol was my grandfather, Ramiz Kovaçi, and after that my father, Edmond Tullumani, who learnt me how to work.”

Ramona Tullumani was born in Tirana, Albania, on the 5th of July 1985. Since she was a child she began to play the piano and she even won some awards. Then she studied singing at the Art High School for Piano and Singing, where she graduated only in Singing. She is a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. In her first year at the Academy she was in the Master class of the famous soprano Katia Ricciarelli. She also participated in several other Master classes of Katia in Rome, as well as in other cities in Italy.

After the Academy, Ramona competed to take part in the Master class of the great soprano Raina Kabaivanska in Sofia. Ramona was among the ten singers selected by her among one hundred singers. After having completed her studies with the opera diva, she fully dedicated herself to the opera stage.

Ramona appeared successfully on the stage of the Tirana National Opera and Ballet in operas like “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata” by Verdi. These two operas accompanied the young singer in Italy, where Stage Director was Katia Ricciarelli. The Albanian played with success also in the operas “La Bohème”, “L’elisir d’amore”, “Le Villi” and others. But the opera that she sang the most times and she continues to perform is “La traviata”. She plays the leading role of Violetta. The conductors with whom she collaborated were Daniele Agiman, Vito Clemente, Leonardo Quadrini, Vittorio Parisi, Giancarlo De Lorenzo, etc.

It was a great emotion in 2013, when she sang in Vatican, on the occasion of Pope Francis’ birthday.

Ramona was the first Albanian soprano from the country of Mother Teresa, invited to such a great event. In one of the reports of “RAI 3”, Ramona was presented as “the most beautiful voice of this event”.

She has sung in many countries, in Paris, Athens, at the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia, before the UN in Geneva, etc. Every year Ramona takes part at the Three Tenors concert in Tirana as a special guest.

She is Professor at the Albanian Academy of Arts.

She is “Ambassador of Peace” from 2007 and has got an autograph from Mr. Ban Ki Moon in 2007.

In summer 2016, the Italian press praised the superb Gilda of the Albanian soprano in the opera “Rigoletto” at the Lecce theatre.

“After the premiere”, tells the singer, “from the audience were heard exclamations: “Convincing and attractive. A superb Gilda!”

Tullumani is esteemed because of her perfect technique, the variations of the beautiful arias to be remembered.

The music critic Ilaria Stefanelli wrote: “Bravo, Ramona, your voice is flying in the heights, it floats on the clouds, excellent, excellent!”

About the Italian audience Tullumani says:

“I know this requiring audience well. When it is pleased, it cannot contain itself and is always reacting.

Another great joy for me was the invitation, which I received from Vatican, to sing at the concerts, organized by the Holy See, on the occasion of the canonization of Mother Teresa. I am very proud that Mother Teresa is an Albanian. She belongs already to the whole world. Let us all pray to this woman, because she is carrying only goodness.

I sang in the Santa Maria delgli Angeli Cathedral in Vatican, I sang Albanian and Italian songs. Mother Teresa is since a long time a saint for me. I was very happy, I felt that I am standing in front of her and she was blessing me.

I felt the same at the Sofia Opera, when the past season I sang the role of Violetta from “La traviata”. It seemed to me that my great-grandfather, engineer Georgi Lilov, who built the Opera, was standing somewhere in the dark and was glad, that I was singing on this stage. I was so pleased with the long applauses, tears, flowers, and then also with the cordial congratulations of different people from the Bulgarian audience.

“La traviata” is a volcano of feelings, everything attracts me in the libretto. The tragic fate of Violetta, Verdi’s wonderful sounds are moving me from the top of my fingers to the top of my head. I am reproducing this role with love, because I have a lovely relation with the Bulgarian audience. I am rewarded by it and our feelings are mutual.

When I was a girl I red Duma’s novel “La dame aux camélias”. Violetta is trying to live in the high society, which is a balloon, but it is hypocritical to her and doesn’t accept her. Although her passion and love to Alfred finish with her death, no one is sympathizing with her. When I am singing this role, I always find something new in it, which I haven’t shown before.

For me it is always for the first time.

In my life I know, that I am not Violetta. I am a strong personality with both feet on the ground and I shall always fight for my love.

I esteem Academician Plamen Kartaloff’s invitation to be guest-performer in the new season in Verdi’s “La traviata”. The Sofia Opera has a wonderful staff, highly qualified employees, real professionals with clear views about the place and the role of the opera in our contemporary life. This is an invitation, which will remain unforgettable for me and for my family.

I love Sofia a lot and I am feeling well here. I am walking with pleasure on the streets and in the parks of the city. They remind me of my childhood, the Bulgarian fairy-tales, the songs for children, which my mother and my grandmother were secretly singing to me with a lot of love.

My great-grandfather Georgi Lilov had bequeathed to his daughter, my grandmother, a dear present from architect Lazar Parashkevov – “History of European opera”. For me this is a very valuable memory and now we are keeping it in our house in Tirana.

Lazar Parashkevov and my great-grandfather worked with a lot of love at the construction site.

They felt like privileged and for them this was a great reward.

I am Violetta, coming from Albania, but I never forget my Bulgarian roots. I am singing with a lot of love for Bulgaria. The way that only Albanian women are able to do. Mother Teresa is Albanian, and through her life she made a wonderful characteristic of the Albanian women. While still living, she said some inspired words, which are for me a landmark for every day. They are sacred:

“Half of human beauty is the word. Speak sweetly, this costs nothing to you!”

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