THE BALLET OF THE SOFIA OPERA – TRADITION AND CONTEMPORANEITY IN THE PERFECTION
The first ballet company in our country is with 90-years long story. So many are the years, which have passed since the first ballet spectacle in Bulgaria – “Coppélia” in 1928, which is considered to be also the beginning of the ballet of the Sofia Opera. For this less than a century the artists, who dedicated themselves to this art in our country, have recorded achievements, with which can praise themselves only the greatest ones in dance.
The company maintains a respectable portfolio of classical and modern repertoire. In it are “Swan Lake”, “The Nutcracker”, “Giselle”, “Don Quixote”, “La bayadère”, “Coppélia”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Le corsaire”, “Petrushka”, “The Firebird”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “La dame aux camélias”, “Scheherazade”, “Zorba the Greek”, “Carmen”, “Rhapsody in Blue”, “La sylphide”, “Cinderella” and others. According to this indicator the ballet from Sofia can be compared to leading theatres like the Bolshoi Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre, Grande opéra, Covent Garden.
The successors of traditions, created by names like Anastas Petrov, Bogdan Kovachev, Nina Kiradjieva, Penka Encheva, Vera Kirova, Krassimira Koldamova, Assen Gavrilov, Petar Lukanov, Bisser Deyanov, Yasen Valchanov, Masha Ilieva and others don’t stop searching and offering the best to their audience. Pupils of the Bulgarian school today are at leading positions in the greatest world ballet companies. Praises for the achievements of Bulgarian ballet dancers come from all points of the globe. The company cooperates constantly with leading foreign choreographers and stage directors. Names like Yuri Grigorovich, Irina Kolpakova, Dinna Bjørn, Eldar Aliev, Andris Liepa, Diana White, Kipling Houston, Irene Schneider, Sonia Alonso, Pavel Stalinski, Kathryn Posin, Kathryn Bennetts, who have worked with the most famous artists, compare the Bulgarian prima ballerinas and premier soloists with the greatest, universally recognized names of dance.
In the company’s repertoire are ballets with foreign producers – “The Nutcracker” – Yuri Grigorovich, many titles by George Balanchine, “Le corsaire” – Eldar Aliev, “La sylphide” – Dinna Bjørn, “Paquita” and “Les sylphides” – Irina Kolpakova, “Scheherazade”, “Stepping Stones” – Kathryn Posin, “The Concert” – J. Robbins, “In the Middle Somewhat Elevated” – W. Forsythe, “Zorba the Greek” – Lorca Massine, “La dame aux camélias” – Irene Schneider, “Antigone”, “Elektra” – Sergei Bobrov and others.
The company enjoyed overcrowded halls not only in Bulgaria, but also on stages in Great Britain, Qatar, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Holland, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Belgium. We should not forget that Bulgaria can praise itself with the first of its kind in the world International Ballet Competition in Varna, founded in 1964.
The Ballet of the Sofia Opera maintains a high level and keeps “high” the price of the ballet art. All people, who have worked with the company, mark that “we distinguish ourselves from the others – with especially strong emotional store, together with the good ballet technique”. “It gives a meaning to the spectacles as such and gives us the right with pride to call ourselves artists ballet dancers generalizes Sara-Nora Krysteva, prima ballerina and Artistic director of our first opera theatre.
In the recent years the company is in a visible uplift. The ballet realizes at least 2 premieres per year – from the classical and the modern repertoire, without forgetting the Bulgarian classic. More and more artists from countries with traditions in this art show interest namely in the company. With its new young artists from Japan, Great Britain, the USA, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Moldova and Albania the Ballet of the Sofia Opera belongs to the family of the international companies.
The critics in Bulgaria and in many other countries don’t spare their superlatives for our productions and artists. Our ballet enjoys a cordial welcome and full halls with spectators from each age. The seen on the stage lights not one or two children’s imaginations with the dream some day from spectators to turn into artists of the ballet.