Newspaper “Jivotat dnes”, Petar Galev – the opera and the ballet are the convertible currency of Bulgaria

At the occasion of the newest premiere of the Sofia Opera and Ballet – “Le corsaire” I became aware that when someone looks at the repertoire of our National Ballet, without being acquainted in details with its development during the last years, he will certainly suggest that it is a matter of the company of some of the world theatres, which have budgets of several millions and a huge support by the relevant countries and rich sponsors.

The prima ballerina Marta Petkova and the premier soloist Nikola Nadjitanev

There isn’t any significant classical title, which is not performed by our first ballet company. To start with “Swan Lake”, “Sleeping Beauty, “Giselle”, “Don Quixote”, “La bayadère”, “The Nutcracker”, “La sylphide”, pass through “La Dame aux camélias”, “Carmen”, “Petrushka”, “The Firebird” and reach to “Zorba” and “Rhapsody in Blue”. At that covered at the same time in the playbill!

That is why, without Bulgaria to be a leading economical and geopolitical power, our classical stage art is far surpassing the place of our country in the other international rank lists for the different spheres of life. Our National Opera and Ballet acknowledged neither the world crisis, nor the eternal lack of money for culture in Bulgaria. It fills in its halls, attracts thousands of foreigners from near and far countries, takes care of even the littlest spectators, still babies.



The Director of the Sofia Opera and Ballet Acad. Plamen Kartaloff   Photos: Sofia Opera and Ballet

The Director Acad. Plamen Kartaloff says that the labour intensive (and non-commercial) spectacles for children are not only with a thought for them, but also for the theatre itself, because this way it educates its future loyal audience.    

Today the indisputable success of the premiere ballet “Le corsaire” is no news: a bright, optimistic, beautiful, fairy spectacle, which somehow naturally fits into the long sentence of positive news, which offers the Sofia Opera and Ballet. It seems natural to the audience, but the artistic and the technical staff knows very well how actually comes into existence this stage beauty. When someone comprehends what a variety and quality is offered on our home stage by the National Ballet, he can explain to himself the deep sincere bow, the warm words, with which turned to our company the world prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova after the spectacle of “Giselle” in Sofia. As well as the numerous invitations for guest-performances on the world stages of our leading soloists, and of the whole cast too. I am personally very glad that fewer and fewer people from the audience, with who we see each other in the theatre, are asking me “haven’t you already seen this?”. Yes, I have seen it and I will watch it every time, when I have the possibility to do it! Because we are not talking about a film, which, when you understand its plot, is already not interesting to you.



The prima ballerina Katerina Petrova and the premier soloist Tsetso Ivanov

It is a matter of an overall live art, a complex amalgam of music and dance of genius, beautiful carriages, plastics, artistry and sometimes unexplainable transmission of feelings through the movement of each part of the body. That is why each time it is different!

And what the audience in the hall sees and appreciates, it is with certitude esteemed also by the professionals in the field of ballet around the world.



The prima ballerina Sara-Nora Krysteva, Artistic director of the National Ballet

To the question with what our company attracts artists from the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan... the director of the cast, the prima ballerina Sara-Nora Krysteva always smiles and says that there are logically explainable, but also some factors, which are difficult to perceive. Among the objective ones are the huge (in practice the entire) classical repertoire, the indisputable quality of the soloists, as well as of the corps de ballet, the excellent orchestra and conductors, the ballet school, the tradition of many years, transferred from generation to generation. And among the other reasons with certitude we could count the warm and friendly relations inside the company, the lack of the professional envy, which popular films with topic ballet are trying to bring to the fore; the understanding on behalf of the theatre’s management that success has two pillars, which develop parallelly – opera and ballet.

We can only hope that the young inspired artists will continue with their efforts, in spite of the categorical underestimation on behalf of the state. Because it finances this labour according to a strange methodology with a “half” hand... But obviously no kind of remuneration can be compared to the enthusiastic applauses, the joyful excitement in the hall, the cries “Bravo!” and the flowers, to the invitations for participations on the most prestigious world stages.

I am convinced that one day this convertible currency, which our country owns – the opera and the ballet, will become a real priority not only for the theatre’s management and for the artists themselves, but also for the institutions. The National Opera has long since become a magnet for the audience from abroad, which comes specially for the opera and ballet spectacles. If the state marks this, it could support the overcoming of the not favourable definition of our country as a “cheap alcohol touristic destination”.

Petar Galev

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